Scripting Civil Partnerships: Interviewing couples together and apart

Brian Heaphy, Anna Einarsdottir

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Couple studies generally focus on heterosexual relationships where partners are interviewed together or apart. This article discusses a study of same-sex couples' Civil Partnerships that interviewed partners together and apart. It considers the methodological and analytical challenges raised by our approach by discussing how the different interactional settings of the interviews shaped the stories that couples and partners told, the links between relationship narration in interviews and their 'doing' in practice and the insights generated into the sociocultural factors that shape relationship scripting. The joint interviews produced couple and marriage stories. They illuminated couples' scripting agency and factors that enable and constrain partners' scripting authority in interviews and beyond. The individual interviews produced biographically embedded narratives of 'relating selves'. These contextualized and complicated couple stories of (non-)negotiated relationships. Our approach enabled us to make links between relational scripting in interviews and the flow of power in situated research, relational and sociocultural contexts. © The Author(s) 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-70
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Civil Partnership
  • couples
  • interviews
  • marriage
  • narratives
  • power
  • same-sex relationships
  • scripting


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