Ilenya Camozzi Silvana Greco

Shifting family boundaries when near and far. A spatial analysis of embodied family practices among young Italians

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In this paper we aim to investigate how family members, and young sons and daughters in particular, do family and actively take part in doing family through space and the body. By viewing family relations from a culturalist perspective, we aim to shed light on how these embodied family practices form, operate and change, from a spatial perspective. In more depth, we are interested in exploring how family boundaries change depending on the spatial proximity or distance among family members, configurations in which the (im)materiality of body and embodied family practices are significant. The paper is based on two empirical studies regarding young Italians - one on a group still living in the family home with their parent(s) and the other on a group of Italians living abroad. Our analysis, based on biographical narrative interviews with 40 young Italian men and women (aged 22 to 30), shows that while family boundaries are continuously being actively reshaped by (real and virtual) spatial interactions among family members, proximity and distance work quite similarly when it comes to doing family, especially considering the implications of, and reactions to, the parental gaze (Morgan 2011b).


  • family practices
  • youth
  • space
  • home
  • body


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