In Search of Relational Reflexivity at the Early Years of Marriage. A Comparative Study on Family Formation in Moscow and Milan
1Università Cattolica di Milano, Italy; 2Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University
“Relational turn” is recognized today as a strong intellectual response to the ongoing debate on the individualization of society (Donati 2015; Donati, Archer 2015; Dépelteau 2018) and this triggers a new interest in operationalizing hypotheses and models of explanation which could be tested in different institutional and cultural contexts. This research focuses on the process of family formation, interpreting it as the result of a “relational reflexivity”, run by the couple (Donati 2014). While reflexivity stands as a peculiar character of the post-modern man, it seems that building we-ness in couple relation becomes more and more difficult, whereas an individualized reflexivity prevails. How to analyse couples’ reflexivity and the building of we-ness? In order to answer to this question, a joint research project has been implementing by a Russian and Italian team.
The study aims to investigate how young couples (religious and non-religious), living in two modern urban areas, Moscow and Milan, run their reflexivity in order to build we-ness. A pilot trial in Italy was accomplished to test the methodological toolkits, based on individual and couple interview and an online-diary, filled out during six months. Currently, a longitudinal research is being carried out in Russia to follow couples’ reflexivity during three years: the first findings will be presented. Four areas are investigated: work-family balance, transition to parenthood, intergenerational relationships and use of money. On the basis of the first results, we are planning the study in Milan, to which some new tools will be tested.
Couple Formation Scenarios In The Internet: The Case Of Russia
Saint Petersburg State University, Russian Federation
The research question is how do modern young people develop and maintain intimate relationships, form couples online? The object of analysis is modern Russian young Internet users. The subject is practices of young people in the Internet that are aimed at formation of romantic relations. The purpose is to classify and describe scenarios (patterns) of the behavior (search for a partner, establishing relationships) of various groups of Russian youth in cyberspace. Theoretical basis for the work is: social script approach, in particular the theory of sexual scripts by J.H. Gagnon and W. Simon; conceptual ideas of E. Giddens (‘pure relationship’) and Z. Bauman (‘liquid love’). The empirical basis is the findings of the online focus groups with youth representatives (men and women aged 18 to 30 years old), who were recruited from Russia's most popular and leading dating sites (Mamba, Badoo, etc.) to discuss strategies of sexual and romantic behavior in the Internet, and their virtual presentation. The research was conducted in the framework of the grant by President of the RF No. МК-3510.2018.6. As the result, the normative perceptions about a set of common (generally accepted) elements of these scenarios are classified and their qualitative differentiation is given, cultural online intimate scripts of Russian young men and women are reconstructed. Moreover, the prospects and limitations of the sexual scripts concept for the study of erotic online practices are considered. The Internet is regarded both as a factor of formation of culture and patterns of intimate behavior, and as an arena for their implementation and experiment.
Intimate Surveillance Gone Digital
Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom
Does technologised intimate surveillance represent a barrier in the parent/child relationship? This paper, which forms a part of the author’s PhD study, seeks to understand how family relationships are shaped by the use of apps to monitor children, as well as families’ overall attitudes to personal technology. This paper also seeks to provide foundation and support to Tama Leaver’s emerging theory of intimate surveillance.
This research has an interpretivist stance, making using of constructivist grounded theory to frame its analysis of qualitative semi-structured interviews, supplemented with analysis of cultural references made by participants during interviews (example: Elf On The Shelf, Sherlock) and marketing materials related to products used by families (examples: Life360, Our Pact, Google Family Link).
Initial analysis suggests that the use of technologised surveillance does not represent a barrier to the parent/child relationship, but rather can facilitate it.
Personal relationships have not previously been considered sites of surveillance, and using the lens of surveillance to examine the parent child relationship is a new academic development.
Furthermore, this paper’s interest in the experience of conducting surveillance, and in particular the experience of being surveilled, serves to highlight critically under-researched areas.
"Delete the Family": Designing the Smart Home and its Platform Family
University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
The deployment of ‘smart’ ICT technologies into the home has created a new domain in which technology companies compete to establish a monopoly platform (Srnicek 2016). Such a platform offers a marketplace in which domestic life interfaces with global capital. More than simply offering another channel through which to consume, this entails the integration of the home into the digital economy. Such a move requires a disciplining of domestic life, through a series of standardised taxonomies and metrics.
Addressing this effort, my talk focuses on the implementation of Google Families and Amazon Households. These services, from the front runners in the race for domestic platform dominance, prescribe a domestic group, and a series of roles within it. On one level, these classifications can be read as a recognition, by an industry built on the atomism of individual user and personal data, of the need to embed domestic technologies within its social environment. However, classification is always a performative, ethical act. In formatting domestic relationships such that they are amenable to universalised digital reproduction, technology designers define a set of relations between both family members, and the group and the world outside.
Institutions have a long history of intervening in the structure of domestic life. The talk shall address the novel aspects of this latest incursion, its possible consequences, and the lessons it offers for understanding the smart home project.