Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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We are family? Negotiating intimate interpersonal relationships in social research
Boka En

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
##manager.scheduler.room##: T12
Date: 2015-09-25 02:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-08


As social researchers, we routinely categorise our subjects in order to make sense of the world. This ‘ordering’ happens in a range of different ways. For example, in addition to demographic markers such as gender, race or class, research on intimate interpersonal relationships often categorises these relationships as well as the people who are in (or not in) them. E.g., researchers may distinguish between someone’s ‘family’ and their ‘extended family’, and assign both members and meanings to these (and other) groups.

While ordering the world in social research may very well be unavoidable, work in Science and Technology Studies as well as Gender and Queer Studies has indicated that such ordering is never ‘innocent’. As our background assumptions enter both our analyses and our (re-)presentations of ‘the world’, we take part in producing it in one way or another. As a consequence, social research on intimate relationships may influence which relationships people can engage in.

Analysing academic publications on intiamte interpersonal relationships from a variety of fields with a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, I explore the ways in which such relationships are negotiated in social research. In doing so, I place particular emphasis on how these negotiations contribute to the normalisation of some and marginalisation of other ways of doing relationships.