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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Autonomy, Belonging and Long-Distance Relationships in Europe and Japan

Individualization and mobility increasingly define romantic relationships. ‘Despatialization’ and internationalization of work and education have intensified tensions between occupation and relationships. Therefore, as couples negotiate and coordinate their lives, flexibility and agency become more necessary to sustain relationships. Decisions along the life course demand privileging either individual autonomy or dyadic belonging. As all options likely imply trade-offs, actors will try to balance autonomy and belonging. This is for example the case in long-distance relationships (LDR), which can be seen as ‘solutions’ to systemic challenges, that, however, cause new challenges. Against this background, my talk asks how long-distance couples ‘manage’ distance, belonging and their life courses.

Markus Klingel, Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences