Couple Relationships in the 21st Century
The research team has an extensive track record of completing research in the field of families and personal relationship research. Their expertise spans across social policy, sociology, historical and socio-cultural studies and includes internationally renowned work in qualitative mixed methods approaches to the study of family lives, childhood and intimacy.
My current research interests centre on interdisciplinary psycho-social approaches for researching and theorizing personal relationships and emotional wellbeing, with particular interest in the areas of families, intimacy, sexuality and gender. I have a longstanding interest in studying how intimacy and sexuality are experienced ‘at home’, including in same-sex parent families. I have published widely in this area. I have established expertise in qualitative mixed methods research, notably in developing innovative methodological approaches for the study of intimate life and family relationships. Recent investigations include: understandings and experiences of quality in long-term couple relationships, how ideas of risk and regulation affect father–child relationships, the impact of families on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ young people.
My work has largely been focused upon 20th century Britain with an emphasis on how personal relationships were constructed and negotiated not only in policy and legislation but also through popular culture. More recently my research has been concerned with experiences of disadvantaged neighbourhoods in contemporary Britain, explored through visual methodologies and questions of interpretation and meaning-making. I am particularly interested in the value of visual resources as ‘evidence’ in the policy arena and their potential to acknowledge, address and challenge understandings of everyday life, personal relationships and social inequalities.
My research has specialised in relationships, family and gender studies and modern social theories, with a focus on the interplay between social identities, social policies and cultural understandings. While working at the Family and Parenting Institute (FPI), I have written on motherhood and paid and unpaid work and conducted two mixed-method research projects for the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
My research interests broadly lie in the areas of gender, sexuality and intimacy. Previous research has focused upon the governance of trans people and their partners through their relations with one another, individuals outside of this relationship, identity-based groups, and the state.
I am a family systemic psychotherapist, working at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. At the Tavistock, I teach on the Masters and Doctoral courses in Systemic Psychotherapy and supervise qualitative research. I am the co-director of the Tavistock and UEL Family Therapy and Systemic Research Centre and Associate Editor for Qualitative Research for the Journal of Family Therapy. My research interests are in the interdisciplinary areas of constructions of 'the family', interracial couples, culture, migration, family life and the process of change.
Two Open University Charter Studentships, linked to the Enduring Love? project, have been awarded to Thierry Chessum and Danni Pearson. Danni Pearson's PhD is being co-funded by Relate. Both students joined the Department of Social Policy and Criminology in April 2012.
I am interested in issues of masculinity, theories of the emotions, problems in the philosophy of social sciences, and in linking theory and empirical work. I also have a strong interest in graphic novels and their use in disseminating complex ideas from the social sciences.
My primary research interests surround sexuality, notably lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals and relationships. In my PhD, I will be looking at young same-sex couples in long-term relationships as well as counsellors’ experiences of working with same-sex couples.
For further details on the project and all media enquiries, please contact:
Professor Jacqui Gabb
Chair of Sociology and Intimacy
The Open University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences and Global Studies