• Constructions, reconstructions and deconstructions of ‘family’ amongst people who live apart together (LATs)

      Stoilova, M.; Roseneil, S.; Carter, J.; Duncan, Simon; Phillips, M. (2017-03)
      This article explores how people who live apart from their partners in Britain describe and understand ‘family’. It investigates whether, and how far, non-cohabiting partners, friends, ‘blood’ and legal ties are seen as ‘family’, and how practices of care and support, and feelings of closeness are related to these constructions. It suggests that people in LAT relationships creatively draw and re-draw the boundaries of family belonging in ways that involve emotionally subjective understandings of family life, and that also refer to normative constructions of what ‘family’ ought to be, as well as to practical recognitions of lived family ‘realities’. This often involves handling uncertainties about what constitutes ‘family’.
    • Practices and perceptions of living apart together

      Duncan, Simon; Phillips, M.; Carter, J.; Roseneil, S.; Stoilova, M. (2014)
      This paper examines how people living apart together (LATs) maintain their relationships, and describes how they view this living arrangement. It draws on a 2011 survey on living apart together (LAT) in Britain, supplemented by qualitative interviewing. Most LATs in Britain live near to their partners, and have frequent contact with them. At the same time most see LAT in terms of a monogamous, committed couple, where marriage remains a strong normative reference point, and see living apart as not much different from co-residence in terms of risk, emotional security, or closeness. Many see themselves living together in the future. However, LAT does appear to make difference to patterns of care between partners. In addition, LATs report advantages in terms of autonomy and flexibility. The paper concludes that LAT allows individuals some freedom to manoeuvre in balancing the demands of life circumstances and personal needs with those of an intimate relationship, but that practices of living apart together do not, in general, represent a radical departure from the norms of contemporary coupledom, except for that which expects couples to cohabit.
    • Sex, Love and Security: Accounts of Distance and Commitment in Living Apart Together Relationships.

      Carter, J.; Duncan, Simon; Stoilova, M.; Phillips, M.
      Drawing on a 2011 national survey and 50 semi-structured interviews, we explore the differing ways in which those in living apart together (LAT) relationships discuss and experience notions of commitment. We found that sexual exclusivity in LAT relationships is expected by the large majority, regardless of their reasons for living apart. The majority of the interviewees also expressed a high degree of commitment to their partner in terms of love, care and intimacy, alongside an appreciation of the increased freedom and autonomy that living apart has to offer. Respondents were divided into four groups according to their perceived commitment: 1. Autonomous commitment, 2. Contingent commitment, 3. Ambivalent commitment, and 4. Limited commitment. Despite differing degrees of commitment, however, the overall finding was that the importance of relating and making relational decisions was central, even in the lives of those living in such unconventional relationship styles.
    • Understanding tradition: marital name change in Britain and Norway

      Duncan, Simon; Ellingsæter, A.L.; Carter, J. (Sage, 2020-09)
      Marital surname change is a striking example of the survival of tradition. A practice emerging from patriarchal history has become embedded in an age of de-traditionalisation and women’s emancipation. Is the tradition of women’s marital name change just some sort of inertia or drag, which will slowly disappear as modernity progresses, or does this tradition fulfil more contemporary roles? Are women and men just dupes to tradition, or alternatively do they use tradition to further their aims? We examine how different approaches - individualisation theory, new institutionalism and bricolage - might tackle these questions. This examination is set within a comparative analysis of marital surname change in Britain and Norway, using small qualitative samples. We find that while individualisation and new institutionalism offer partial explanations, bricolage offers a more adaptable viewpoint.
    • Why do people live apart together?

      Duncan, Simon; Carter, J.; Phillips, M. (2013-09)
      Interpretations of living apart together (LAT) have typically counter-posed 'new family form' versus 'continuist' perspectives. Recent surveys, however, construct LAT as a heterogeneous category that supports a 'qualified continuist' position - most people live apart as a response to practical circumstances or as a modern version of 'boy/girlfriend', although a minority represents something new in preferring to live apart more permanently. This article interrogates this conclusion by examining in depth why people live apart together, using a nationally representative survey from Britain and interview accounts from 2011. Our analysis shows that LAT as a category contains different sorts of relationship, with different needs and desires. While overall coupledom remains pivotal and cohabitation remains the goal for most, LAT allows people flexibility and room to manoeuvre in adapting couple intimacy to the demands of contemporary life. Hence, we suggest, LAT is both 'new' and a 'continuation'.