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Couples: A Collective Life

Moran, J Couples: A Collective Life. Life Writing. ISSN 1448-4528 (Accepted)

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This creative-critical essay tells the collective life story of couples, by drawing together memoir and other texts (film, art, photography, biographical fragments) and social observation. It is inspired by two things: the ‘immersive coupledom’ (Laura Kipnis’s term) enforced by the Covid lockdowns; and a series of recent essay-cum-memoirs that have explored the experience either of being single or being in a couple. These books note the resilience of ‘the couple norm’ even as feminist and LGBTQ+ movements have challenged other societal norms. My essay also examines my own life as a single man, but tangentially, by considering its opposite: coupledom. Unpacking the unquestioned norm of coupledom is, I argue, a way of thinking about the hidden strangeness of our mundane lives – how love and care get routinised, and how the stories we tell about human relationships become true by default. But I also suggest that coupledom can’t just be reduced to a story, a heteronormative convention. A couple is, like the human beings who comprise it, a beautiful, maddening, undeterminable mess. Every couple is a social invention, but also a one-off, an anomaly, a dataset of one.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: coupledom; singledom; monogamy; memoir; 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing; 2005 Literary Studies; 2099 Other Language, Communication and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2023 10:39
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2023 10:39
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20792

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