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Author: Shuang Qiu

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.

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