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When Less is More: On Time Work in Long-Distance Relationships
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2015 (English)In: Qualitative Sociology, ISSN 0162-0436, E-ISSN 1573-7837, Vol. 38, no 2, 185-203 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Time and temporality are under-researched areas in the sociology of intimate lives. This study therefore explores the aspect of time in long-distance relationships. On the basis of 19 in-depth interviews with individuals from Latvia with long-distance relationship experience, the study aims to examine how long-distance partners attribute meaning to and deal with the time they spend together and the time they spend apart. The theoretical point of departure is the notion of temporality as developed by Mead, which is combined with Flaherty's concept of "time work," referring to the actor's attempts to manipulate her temporal experiences. This study suggests that time work differs among what is here conceptualized as different time-place zones, i.e. states of time and place where, in the dimension of place, the partners are either co-present or apart. Eight time-work strategies are identified in relation to these different time-place zones. It is concluded that time work enables long-distance partners to manage their relationship and to be in control of their subjective experiences of time in the relationship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 38, no 2, 185-203 p.
Keyword [en]
Mead, Flaherty, long-distance relationships, temporality, time, time work, time-place zones
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-242943DOI: 10.1007/s11133-015-9304-5ISI: 000354188400004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-242943DiVA: diva2:786444
Funder
Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse
Available from: 2015-02-05 Created: 2015-02-03 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. I Imagine You Here Now: Relationship Maintenance Strategies in Long-Distance Intimate Relationships
Open this publication in new window or tab >>I Imagine You Here Now: Relationship Maintenance Strategies in Long-Distance Intimate Relationships
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today, individuals can relatively easily meet and communicate with each other over great distances due to increased mobility and advances in communication technology. This also allows intimate relationships to be maintained over large geographical distances. Despite these developments, long-distance relationships (LDRs), i.e. intimate relationships maintained over geographical distance, remain understudied. The present thesis aims to fill this knowledge gap and investigates how intimate partners who live so far away from each other that they cannot meet every day make their relationship ongoing beyond face-to-face interaction.

Theoretically, this study departs from a symbolic interactionist viewpoint that invites us to study phenomena from the actor’s perspective. Conceptually, the thesis builds on the recent development in sociology of intimate lives that sees intimacy as a relational quality that has to be worked on to be sustained, and that focuses on the practices that make a relationship a relationship. Empirically, the thesis is based upon 19 in-depth interviews with individuals from Latvia with long-distance relationship experience.

The thesis consists of four articles. Article I studies the context in which LDRs in Latvia are maintained, focusing on the normative constraints that complicate LDR maintenance. Article II analyses how intimacy is practiced over geographical distance. Article III examines how long-distance partners manage the experience of the time they are together and the time they are geographically apart. Article IV explores the aspect of idealization in LDRs. Overall, the thesis argues for the critical role of imagination in relationship maintenance. The relationship maintenance strategies identified within the articles are imagination-based mediated communication (creating sensual/embodied intimacy, emotional intimacy, daily intimacy and imagined individual intimacy); time-work strategies that enable long-distance partners to deal with the spatiotemporal borders of the time together and the time apart; and creating bi-directional idealization. The thesis is also one of the few works in the field of intimate lives in Eastern Europe and analyses the normative complications that long-distance partners face in their relationship maintenance in Latvia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 78 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 108
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 104
Keyword
intimacy, sociology of intimate lives, time, temporality, imagination, living apart together, symbolic interactionism, Latvia
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-242949 (URN)978-91-554-9161-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-27, MB503, Södertörns högskola, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-03-06 Created: 2015-02-03 Last updated: 2015-04-14

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Jurkane-Hobein, Iveta

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