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'Doing gender' across cultures: gender negotiations in European bi-national couple relationships

Brahic, BAM (2018) 'Doing gender' across cultures: gender negotiations in European bi-national couple relationships. In: Making Multicultural Families in Europe: Gender and Intergenerational Relations. Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life . Springer, pp. 39-56. ISBN 3319597558

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Abstract

Based on a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews with 32 bi-national couples living in Manchester (UK), this chapter explores some of the negotiations around aspects of gender in mixed couples. Lacking a shared cultural bedrock (of which gender is constitutive), partners in bi-national relationships face the task of assembling their own hybrid bedrock to cradle their life together. Subsequently, partners embark on an ad hoc exploration of the practice of gender in their relationship leading them to reflect on gender performances, gender relations, and how they intersect with culture. This leads partners to negotiate and strategize around their practice of gender in their couple relationship. Nonetheless, while an increased fluidity in ‘doing’ gender bears the potential for more democratic relationships, deep-seated gendered practices whereby women deliver the bulk of the emotional labour and care still endure.

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