What is it about?

The article describes why women live apart from partners, looking in turn at constraints on cohabitation (non -acceptance by family members, demands of powerful institutions like employers, banks or state authorities), strategies to escape cohabitation, and feelings of vulnerability associated with cohabitation (fears of repeating past bad experiences, unsuitability of partners, perceived threats to children's wellbeing). It then interprets these findings in terms of agency

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Why is it important?

Claims have been made that women live apart from partners as a strategy to escape traditional divisions of labour and male authority. The article shows that the choice of LAT is a more complex, emotional and relational process involving partners, other family members and institutions. In so doing it provides a critique of simplistic views of agency as individualistic and necessarily purposeful and strategic; rather agency is both relational and variable.


I was pleased by the way the article reached out to wider debates about agency, reflexivity and individualisation

Professor Simon Duncan
University of Bradford

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Women's Agency in Living Apart Together: Constraint, Strategy and Vulnerability, The Sociological Review, August 2015, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1111/1467-954x.12184.
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