Moral Imperatives of Lockdown: Story Completion Tasks of Family Practices and Relationships in Australia during COVID-19

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Abstract

This article contributes to the sociology of relationships by exploring the moral imperatives that shaped perceptions and negotiations of family life during lockdowns in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. We identified dominant discourses from an online qualitative story completion task and situate these in relation to emerging literature on the impact of pandemic-related restrictions on domestic relationships, gender relations, and labour division. We argue that discourses of family connection, clean and tidy homes, and the commodity of time operated as moral imperatives. These imperatives simultaneously offered opportunities for enrichment and agency, as well as operating as unobtainable benchmarks that constrained people’s sense of wellbeing. In this analysis we explore how COVID-19 lockdown stories offer new ways of understanding the interplay between displaying and doing ‘family life’ where gender and labour relations are performed, reinforced and challenged.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalSociology
Early online date25 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Australia
  • COVID-19
  • family practices
  • moral imperatives
  • story completion

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