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Modern conjugality, a new way of thinking about the bond

Gérard Neyrand

Conjugality is central to a process of transforming intimate relationships, one that revolves around the “democratization” of the family, the equalization of gender roles, and the promotion of individualities. But this multifaceted process is also based on changing norms of interaction, their transferal into an ever-changing social imaginary, and the configuration of personal identities. This article first considers the overall logics underlying these changes before attempting to describe their effects on conjugality and the various functions of life as a couple – reciprocal expressiveness, identity refuge, shared normativity – which are examined in their numerous interrelationships. Through the reconfiguration of conjugal normativity and the affirmation of the identity-based nature of conjugality, we are witnessing a metamorphosis of traditional conjugal bonds, which the development of new methods of meeting people and the affirmation of new values and practices have helped to redefine, within a tension between the hedonization of relationships and personal accountability.