Space and the navigation of intimacy in intergenerational Tongan-European Australian relationships during partnering and early parenthood

Johnston-Ataata, K 2019, 'Space and the navigation of intimacy in intergenerational Tongan-European Australian relationships during partnering and early parenthood', Emotion, Space and Society, vol. 31, pp. 71-77.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Space and the navigation of intimacy in intergenerational Tongan-European Australian relationships during partnering and early parenthood
Author(s) Johnston-Ataata, K
Year 2019
Journal name Emotion, Space and Society
Volume number 31
Start page 71
End page 77
Total pages 7
Publisher Elsevier BV
Abstract Drawing on a larger study of a diverse group of eight Tongan-European Australian intercultural couples' experiences of partnering and becoming parents, this article explores participants' accounts of relationships with parents and parents-in-law over the course of these key family life cycle transitions. In particular, the article seeks to understand the role of geographical space in couples' experiences of navigating intimacy in intercultural, intergenerational relationships, understood as sites for cosmopolitanization, and what this reveals about intercultural partnering and parenting in the context of wider social and economic changes impacting family life. The analysis shows that participants placed importance on both intimate relationships with their parents and parents-in-law, and on autonomy as a couple, but that balancing these objectives was challenging. The article also illustrates how the occupation and sharing of space can enhance or disrupt intimacy between adult children in intercultural relationships and their parents/-in-law. Alternatively, space can be used to remedy uncomfortable cosmopolitanized encounters and reinscribe preferred degrees of physical proximity and distance. These findings highlight the importance of attending to the 'doing' and undoing of intimacy, including non-verbal gestures and responses. The article contributes to our understanding of emotional experiences of cosmopolitanization, and of intimacy in intercultural, intergenerational relationships.
Subject Social Theory
Race and Ethnic Relations
Social Change
Keyword(s) intercultural relationships
partnering
transition to parenthood
Tongan diapsora
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.emospa.2019.02.002
Copyright notice © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN 1755-4586
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