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This article addresses a methodological controversy regarding the question of whether couples should ideally be interviewed together or apart. It draws on three different studies in which joint couple interviews were used either as the sole source of data or in combination with individual interviews. The authors focus on the specifics and strengths of joint couple interviews, and they argue that interviewing couples together has several advantages, such as solving the ethical problems of anonymity and consent among interviewees, and results in the production of rich data, including observational data. Furthermore, the authors point to the practical advantages of conducting joint interviews with couples. In taking a relational view of the self and of what is produced in research interviews, the authors propose to apply the concept of family display, originally proposed by Janet Finch. It is argued that the researcher may be seen as one of many possible audiences for this type of family practice.

Bjørnholt, Margunn; Farstad, Gunhild Regland (2012). ’Am I rambling?’ On the advantages of interviewing couples together. Qualitative Research. Published online ahead of print 28 September 2012. doi:10.1177/1468794112459671.

Read the article here.

Workshop with Professor Martha Albertson Fineman in Oslo 14–15 August 2012.

Organised by the Nordic Women’s University (Kvinneuniversitetet i Norden) in cooperation with the research group Law and Vulnerabilities (Rätt och utsatthet), Faculty of Law, Lund University, and the research group Rights, Individuals, Culture and Society, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo.

Martha Albertson Fineman has for several decades been a leading feminist legal theorist and is among the founders of the field. Her current research programme, the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, is directed at finding new ways to reformulate existing legal and social bases for global justice. By taking the shared, human condition of vulnerability as a point of departure, her vulnerability approach reorganizes the relations between individuals and society. The theoretical and political implications of Fineman’s vulnerability analysis are possibly far-reaching, and we invite other researchers and social scientists to join us in exploring the relevance and possible uses of the vulnerability approach in a Nordic context.

The workshop is based on written papers, and is also open to non-presenters. If you want to participate, contact margunn.bjornholt@gmail.com.


Read call for papers here