Closeness and distance in LGBTQ+ women’s relationships
The chapter explores the significance of gender in LGBTQ+ women’s relationships. It begins with an observation of the closeness and easiness of certain LGBTQ+ women’s relationships, while others struggle with unequal approaches to sharing childcare and domestic responsibilities in ways that strikingly resemble the gendered conventions of heterosexual relationships. Arguing that the framework of gendered conventions is limited, I analyse gender as becoming in and through affective assemblages. The chapter thus shifts the focus from the human-centred paradigm that would approach gender as an identity that ‘belongs to a person’, to a more nuanced approach where multiple elements and affective intimacies of a gender assemblage can be identified. For the purposes of the chapter, I analyse two data sets: interviews with LGBTQ+ women who have experienced a recent relationship break-up, and a longitudinal set of interviews with bisexual women and their variously gendered (ex)partners. My analysis shows how the accumulating affective intimacies of a gender assemblage, which are a co-constitution of many elements – e.g. sexual desire, cultural norms and ideas about gender, (shared) interests, events and material spaces – have an ability to bring certain gendered bodies closer to one another while pushing others away from one another. The chapter also shows how equalities and inequalities emerge in temporally shifting ways in LGBTQ+ women’s gender assemblages and how this is entangled with closeness and distance in their relationships.
This edited collection, Affective intimacies, provides a novel platform for re-evaluating the notion of open-ended intimacies through the lens of affect theories. Thus, this collection is not about affect and intimacy, but affective intimacies. Instead of foregrounding certain predefined categories of affects or intimacies, the book focuses on processes, entanglements and encounters between humans as well as between human and non-human bodies that provide key signposts for grasping of affective intimacies. Throughout, Affective intimacies addresses the embodied, affective and psychic aspects of intimate entanglements across various timely phenomena. Rather than assuming that we could parse affective intimacies in a pre-defined way, the collection asks how the study of affect enables us to rethink intimacies, what affect theories can do to the prevailing notion of intimacy and how they renew and enrich theories of intimacy. Affective intimacies brings together a selection of original chapters which invite readers to follow and reconsider affective intimacies as they unfold in the happenings of everyday lives and in their mobile, affective and more-than-human intricate predicaments. In this manner, the edited collection makes a valuable contribution to the social sciences and humanities which have yet to recognise and utilise the potential to imagine affective intimacies in alternative ways, without starting from the already familiar terrains, theories and conceptualisations. By so doing, it advances the value of interdisciplinary perspectives and creative methodologies in thinking in terms of affective intimacies.
The introduction of Affective intimacies lays out a novel terrain for rethinking intimacies through the lens of affect theories. The questions posed at the outset are set to promote an inquiry into the ways affect studies enrich contemporary theorisations of intimacy. Affective intimacies thus makes an effort to renew the prevailing scholarship and the imaginings of affective intimacies. By doing so, it points to an interdisciplinary lacuna and argues that the social sciences and humanities have yet to recognise affect and intimacy as conjoined processes. More specifically, it is suggested that instead of foregrounding affects and intimacies as pre-defined categories, scholarship would benefit from seeing affect and intimacy as entangled and meshed together. This line of inquiry includes encounters between humans as well as between human and non-human bodies. It thus provides key signposts for comprehending affective intimacies in new ways. The open-ended use of intimacy offers a situated analysis of affective intimacies. From this vantage point, proximity and closeness are not neutral practices but can be imbued with power. Rather than pointing to intimacy as an always positive and desirable closeness, the affective prism prompts us to consider new perspectives on the intimate as it is sensed, lived and entangled across human and non-human bodies. Lastly, the introduction closes with presenting the three sections of the book: the importance of re-imagining affective intimacies, the politics of affect and the queering of intimacies.