Global Families and Intimacy

Family and intimate relationships form a crucial part of everyday social life. We are born into family and intimate relationships. We establish, maintain and dissolve family and intimate bonds over the life course. We navigate our changing relationship with parents, siblings, and relatives. We establish, maintain and re-establish intimate ties with partners and perhaps children.

But what are ‘families’? What makes intimate relationships ‘intimate’? How do people date, marry, separate, divorce, and re-partner? How do people ‘do’ families and intimacy in the everyday vicissitudes of match-making, romance, conflicts, care, money, domestic labour, and power? Why do people practise families and intimacy as they do? How do broader social, economic, political and cultural institutions configure our ‘private’ lives? How do the ways in which we relate to family members and intimate others shape the societies in which we live?

In an increasingly interconnected world, family and intimate relationships — personal and private as they are — are increasingly shaped by social forces operating on a global scale. The changing forms and practices of families and intimacy also help shape social trends as grandeur as globalisation.

In this module, we explore theoretical and empirical issues pertaining to the resilience and transformation of family and intimate relationships in a global context.