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  • Author or Editor: Vivienne Elizabeth x
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In this article, we draw on concept of family display to examine how collectivist understandings of family intersect with gender to shape mothers’ and fathers’ post-separation displays of family life. Drawing on interviews with fifteen separated Pacific parents (ten mothers and five fathers), we explore how mothers and fathers navigate how, when, with and for whom they display family relationships and family life following separation. In pursuing this inquiry, we pay particular attention to how family imaginaries and norms in Pacific cultures affect participants’ post-separation family displays. We found gender differences among our participants, with mothers displaying post-separation family connections in child-centred and collectivist ways, while the post-separation family displays by fathers were child-related and more individualistic.

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This article extends discussions about the meaning of cohabitation for cohabitants by drawing on our qualitative interviews from New Zealand with long-term heterosexual and same-sex cohabitants. We show that for this particular group of cohabitants, living together was a dynamic and fluid phenomenon that was largely characterised by a shift from an ambiguous and contingent commitment to a more mutual commitment. The emergence of mutual commitment through living together laid the foundations for these cohabitants to contemplate marriage or civil union as the culturally sanctioned mechanism to signify commitment to a long-term, if not permanent, future together. The change in marital status had the effect of putting to an end any lingering doubts about the meaning of their partnerships, resulting in higher levels of security and better recognition from members of their social network.

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