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Family lives and relational living: taking account of otherness

Gabb, Jacqui (2011). Family lives and relational living: taking account of otherness. Sociological Research Online, 16(4), article no. 10.

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Contemporary research has shown that families are constituted through everyday practices of intimacy with affinities being fashioned around the structuring principles of openness and reciprocity alongside or superseding traditional ties of obligation and responsibility. Paradoxically in many instances powerful differences and inequalities among intimates remain intransigent, undermining claims on the democratisation of intimacy. In this article I want to examine how people make sense of difference and significant otherness in family lives, focusing attention on embedded practices that span across interpersonal, human–object, natural–cultural boundaries. I focus on three examples; these are relations between humans and animals, parents and children, people and objects. These relations are structured through species, gendered, generational and subject–object differences, but these categorical distinctions do not set apart the self and other instead they demonstrate how otherness is part of everyday relational living. Thus, to put personal relationships and families in context, I contend that we need to reframe the analytical lens around an ethics of otherness.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 1996-2011 Sociological Research Online
ISSN: 1360-7804
Extra Information: Published in the special section of this issue of the journal, entitled Families, Intimacies and Personal Relationships. Guest editors: Jacqui Gabb and Elizabeth Silva
Keywords: families; intimacy; ethics of otherness; human–animal relationships; parent–child relationships; human–object relationships
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
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Item ID: 30835
Depositing User: Jacqui Gabb
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2012 12:20
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2016 16:12
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