Raisa Jurvan abstrakti on hyväksytty esitelmäksi Unequal Families and Relationships -konferenssiin, joka järjestetään Edinburghissa 13-15 Kesäkuuta, 2016. Esitelmän abstrakti alla:
Challenging inequalities in heterosexual relationships through age difference? Mid-to later-life women dating younger men
Theories on reflexive modernity suggest increasing individualization in intimate relationships, whereby gender and sexuality are taken as individual decisions rather than connected to social structures and traditional institutions (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 1996). Indeed, heterosexual relationships seem to have become more diversified within the last hundred years and new ways of organizing social and romantic relationships have been established (Beasley, Brook & Holmes 2012). However, at the same time studies on heterosexual couples in the beginning of the 21st century point out, that the everyday experiences of doing heterosexuality still seem to be founded through gendered boundaries and conventions (Magnusson 2008; 2005, Jokinen 2005; 2004, Dryden 2014). The gendered patterns materialize as for example uneven sharing of housework and childcare responsibilities and as gendered patterns for emotions.
In addition to gender and sexuality, age is a factor that defines individuals’ social status (Kangas & Nikander 1999) and age organizes also the conventions of heterosexual relationships. This paper is based on my ongoing PhD study, in which I focus on mid-to later-life women’s narration on their past and present heterosexual relationships with substantially younger men in particular and with men in general. Through analyzing interviews with 50+ women my aim is to discuss what kinds of socially shared cultural resources are available for women in making sense of gender, sexuality and age in a context of a romantic relationship, and how are these connected to gendered power structures and inequalities. The analysis focuses on firstly, what kinds of cultural storylines do women’s narration on heterosexual relationships attach them affectively and secondly, what kinds of affective forms do these attachments take? The theoretical aim is to develop further the concept of heterosexual dynamics for grasping the inequalities within an intimate relationship. The concept ‘heterosexual dynamics’ refers to the ways in which cultural conceptions of gender and sexuality actualize when forming, maintaining and ending intimate relationships.
My study is part of an Academy of Finland research project Just the Two of Us? Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships ([in:team]), which seeks to theorize the arrangements of gender and sexuality in novel ways and to develop methodological approaches for studying affect.