(Withdrawn) Alone but not entirely: new forms and content of relationships and newly emerged individualizing habitus in the Czech Republic

Marcel Tomasek, Center for Public Policy, Prague

In view of the decreasing number of marriages and the growing divorce rate, alternative arrangements of intimate life going beyond the usual image of the married couple (with or without children) or even beyond the idea of the couple per se have made their way extensively into the current Czech society. In a qualitative study of people identified as ‘single’, which was conducted in 2003-2004, one particular finding stood out: a significant number of the interviewees (economically independent and declaring themselves as ‘without a partner’) revealed their engagement in various other forms of regular or even long-term relationships. In an analysis of 38 in-depth interviews collected through 2003-2006, the following categories of alternative relationships were identified as characteristic of the current Czech social context: ‘relationships with married lovers’; ‘weekend marriages’; ‘long-distance relationships’ and ‘one-night stands’; ‘open relationships’; ‘lovers in case of need’ and ‘relationships to prove oneself’. However, wider proliferation going beyond this one particular statistically and demographically most easily observable ‘singles’ group should be taken notice - pluralisation of life styles and increase in variations of partner and other close relationships and their arrangements more generally. The matter is not rooted just in spread of people living single or in chosen ‘families’ of friends and flatmates and their ‘individualized habitus’ but rests in overall increased avoidance of marriage and marriage’s changed character, increase in various degrees cohabiting and non-cohabiting relationships, breakthrough of childless marriages or marriages limited just to one child. This may be regarded as spreading of similar ‘habitus’ in the whole Czech society. We are better to speak of more and more ‘individualizing habitus’ - not restricted to particular groups - rather then of ‘individualized habitus’ of concrete pinpointed group or groups.

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Presented in Session 98: Living arrangements and coresidence