This article applies David Morgan’s work on ‘family practices’ to the non-cohabiting intimate relationships in China. Through the lens of living apart together (LAT) relationships, I carried out in-depth interviews to examine the family life of working-away men and staying-at-home women in Chinese society. The activities which ‘doing’ family and disclosing intimacy involved when intimate couples are split geographically are contextually varied and, within this regard, three dimensions of family practices are teased out: practices of mobile intimacy, emotion and caring. While many of the studies on the practices approach emphasise ‘doing’, this research provides insight on how acts of not doing (emotion) can also be articulated as a way of doing family. It is argued that by focusing on the everyday ‘doing’ families can be experienced and constructed differently, while also being informed by cultural discourses and social institutions of family and gender.
Bawin-Legros, B. (2004) Intimacy and the new sentimental order, Current Sociology, 52(2): 241–50, doi: 10.1177/0011392104041810.
Beck, U. and Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2002) Individualization, London: Sage.
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3: 77–101. doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Carter, J. and Duncan, S. (2018) Reinventing Couples: Tradition, Agency and Bricolage, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Chambers, D. (2012) A Sociology of Family Life, Cambridge: Policy.
Chang, H., Dong, X. and MacPhail, F. (2011) Labor migration and time use patterns of the left-behind children and elderly in rural China, World Development, Pergamon, 39(12): 2199–2210, doi: 10.1016/J.WORLDDEV.2011.05.021.
Chen, F. (2005) Employment transitions and the household division of labor in China, Social Forces, 84(2): 831–51, doi: 10.1353/SOF.2006.0010.
Chou, R.J.A. (2011) Filial piety by contract? The emergence, implementation, and implications of the ‘Family Support Agreement’ in China, The Gerontologist, 51(1): 3–16, doi: 10.1093/geront/gnq059.
Collins, P.H. (1986) Learning from the outsider within: the sociological significance of black feminist thought, Social Problems, 33(6): 14–32, doi: 10.2307/800672.
Connell, R.W. (1995) Masculinities, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Davis, D.S. and Friedman, S. (2014) Wives, Husbands, and Lovers: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Urban China, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
DeVault, M.L. (1991) Feeding the Family: The Social Organization of Caring as Gendered Work, Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Duncombe, J. and Marsden, D. (1993) Love and intimacy: the gender division of emotion and emotion work, Sociology, 27(2): 221–41, doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4508-1_4.
Duncombe, J. and Marsden, D. (1998) ‘Stepford wives’ and ‘hollow men’? Doing emotion work, doing gender and ‘authenticity’ in intimate heterosexual relationships, in G. Bendelow and S.J. Williams (eds) Emotions in Social Life: Critical Themes and Contemporary Issues, London: Routledge, pp 211–27.
Elliott, A. and Urry, J. (2010) Mobile Lives, Abingdon: Routledge.
Erickson, R. (2005) Why emotion work matters: sex, gender, and the division of household labor, Journal of Marriage and Family, 67: 337–51. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-2445.2005.00120.x
Evans, H. (1997) Women and Sexuality in China: Dominant Discourses of Female Sexuality and Gender Since 1949, London: Polity.
Fan, C.C. (2003) Rural‐urban migration and gender division of labor in transitional China, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27(1): 24–47, doi: 10.1111/1468–2427.00429.
Fei, H.T. (1939) Peasant Life in China, London: Routledge.
Finch, J. (1983) Married to the Job: Wives’ Incorporation in Men’s Work, London: George Allen & Unwin.
Gabb, J. (2008) Researching Intimacy in Families, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Gabb, J. and Fink, J. (2007) Couple Relationships in the 21st Century, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, doi: 10.1007/98-3-319-59698-3.
Gabb, J. and Fink, J. (2015) Telling moments and everyday experience: multiple methods research on couple relationships and personal lives, Sociology, 49(5): 970–87. doi: 10.1177/0038038515578993
Giddens, A. (1992) The Transformation of Intimacy, Cambridge: Polity.
Gillis, J. (1996) A World of Their Own Making, Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.
He, C. and Gober, P. (2003) Gendering interprovincial migration in China, International Migration Review, 37(4): 1220–51. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2003.tb00176.x
Heaphy, B. (2007) Late Modernity and Social Change: Reconstructing Social and Personal Life, London: Routledge.
Hochschild, A. (1979) Emotion work, feeling rules, and social structure, American Journal of Sociology, 85(3): 551–75, www.jstor.org/stable/2778583. doi: 10.1086/227049
Hochschild, A. (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Hockey, J., Meanh, A. and Robinson, V. (2007) Mundane Heterosexualities: From Theory to Practices, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Holmes, M. (2015) Men’s emotions: heteromasculinity, emotional reflexivity, and intimate relationships, Men and Masculinities, 18(2): 176–92, doi: 10.1177/1097184X14557494.
Holmes, M. and Wilding, R. (2019) Intimacies at a distance: an introduction, Emotion, Space and Society, 32: 1–4, doi: 10.1016/j.emospa.2019.100590.
Hu, Y. and Scott, J. (2016) Family and gender values in China, Journal of Family Issues, 37(9): 1267–93, doi: 10.1177/0192513x14528710.
Jacka, T., Kipnis, A.B. and Sargeson, S. (2013) Contemporary China: Society and Social Change, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139196178.
Jackson, S., Liu, J. and Woo, J. (2008) Introduction: reflections on gender, modernity and East Asian sexualities, in S. Jackson, J. Liu and J. Woo (eds) East Asian Sexualities: Modernity, Gender & New Sexual Cultures, London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp 1–30.
Jamieson, L. (1998) Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies, Cambridge: Polity.
Jamieson, L. (1999) Intimacy transformed?, Sociology, 33(10): 477–94, doi: 10.1080/08858190209528804.
Jamieson, L. (2011) Intimacy as a concept: explaining social change in the context of globalisation or another form of ethnocentricism?, Sociological Research Online, 16(4): 1–13, doi: 10.5153/sro.2497.
Jamieson, L. (2013) Personal relationships, intimacy and the self in a mediated and global digital age, in K. Orton-Johnson and N. Prior (eds) Digital sociology: Critical Perspectives, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 13–33.
Jamieson, L., Simpson, R. and Lewis, R. (2011) Introduction, in L. Jamieson, R. Simpson and R. Lewis (eds) Researching Families and Relationships: Reflections on Process, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ji, Y. (2017) A mosaic temporality: new dynamics of the gender and marriage system in contemporary urban China, Temporalités, 26, doi: 10.4000/temporalites.3773.
Ji, Y. and Yeung, W.J.J. (2014) Heterogeneity in contemporary Chinese marriage, Journal of Family Issues, 35(12): 1662–82, doi: 10.1177/0192513X14538030.
Kyung-Sup, C. and Min-Young, S. (2010) The stranded individualizer under compressed modernity: South Korean women in individualization without individualism, British Journal of Sociology, 61(3): 539–64, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-4446. 2010.01325.x.
Liu, J. (2017) Intimacy and intergenerational relations in rural China, Sociology, 51(5): 1034–1049, doi: 10.1177/0038038516639505.
Liu, J., Bell, E. and Zhang, J. (2019) Conjugal intimacy, gender and modernity in contemporary China, The British Journal of Sociology, 70(1): 283–305, doi: 10.1111/1468–4446.12338.
Louie, K. (2015) Chinese Masculinities in a Globalizing World, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, doi: 10.4324/9781315884646.
Morgan, D. (1996) Family Connections: An Introduction to Family Studies, Cambridge: Polity.
Morgan, D. (2011) Rethinking Family Practices, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Morgan, D. (2020) Family practices in time and space, Gender, Place & Culture, 27(5): 733–43, doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2018.1541870.
Osburg, J. (2013) Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China’s New Rich, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Qi, X. (2015) Filial obligation in contemporary China: evolution of the culture-system, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 45(1): 141–61, doi: 10.1111/jtsb.12052.
Qiu, S. (2020) Chinese ‘study mothers’ in living apart together (LAT) relationships: educational migration, family practices, and gender roles, Sociological Research Online, 25(3): 405–20, doi: 10.1177/1360780419871574.
Qiu, S. (2022) Negotiating intimacy and family at distance: living apart together relationships in China, in S. Quaid, C. Hugman and A. Wilcock (eds) Negotiating Families and Personal Lives in the 21st Century, London: Routledge, pp 77–92, doi: 10.4324/9781003039433.
Rainie, L. and Wellman, B. (2012) Networked: The New Social Operating System, Cambridge: MIT Press.
Raymo, J.M., Park, H., Xie, H. and Yeung, W.J. (2015) Marriage and family in East Asia: continuity and change, Annual Review of Sociology, 41(1): 471–92, doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-073014-112428.
Roseneil, S. (2006) On not living with a partner: unpicking coupledom and cohabitation, Sociological Research Online, 11(3): 1–17. doi: 10.5153/sro.1413
Ryan-Flood, R. (2013) Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, doi: 10.4324/9780203927045.
Shek, D.T.L. (2006) Chinese family research: puzzles, progress, paradigms, and policy implications, Journal of Family Issues, 27(3): 275–84, doi: 10.1177/0192513x05283508.
Song, J. and Ji, Y. (2020) Complexity of Chinese family life: individualism, familism, and gender, The China Review, 20(2): 1–18.
Song, L., Li, S. and Feldman, M.W. (2012) Out-migration of young adults and gender division of intergenerational support in rural China, Research on Aging, 34(4): 399–424, doi: 10.1177/0164027511436321.
Tyler, T.R. (2002) Is the internet changing social life? It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same, Journal of Social Issues, 58(1): 195–205, doi: 10.1111/1540–4560.00256.
Valentine, G. (2006) Globalizing intimacy: the role of information and communication technologies in maintaining and creating relationships, Women’s Studies Quarterly, 34(1/2): 365–93.
Wang, X. (2016) Social Media in Industrial China, London: UCL Press.
Wilding, R. (2018) Families, Intimacy and Globalization: Floating Ties, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Xie, Y. (2013) Gender and family in contemporary China, Working paper 13-808, Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, doi: 0018-7259/00/020187-11.
Xu, Q., Li, J. and Yu, X. (2015) Continuity and change in Chinese marriage and the family: evidence from the CFPS, Chinese Sociological Review, 47(1): 30–56, doi: 10.2753/CSA2162-0555470102.
Yan, Y. (2003) Private Life under Socialism: Love, Intimacy, and Family Change in a Chinese Village, 1949–1999, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Yan, Y. (2010) The Chinese path to individualization, British Journal of Sociology, 61(3): 489–512. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2010.01323.x
Yan, Y. (2016) Intergenerational intimacy and descending familism in rural north China, American Anthropologist, 118(2): 244–57, doi: 10.1111/aman.12527.
Zhang, L. (2010) In Search of Paradise: Middle Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
|May 2022 onwards||Past Year||Past 30 Days|
|Full Text Views||937||902||20|