chapter
Co-presence and family
A discussion of a sociological category and conceptual considerations
WithMarie-Kristin Döbler
Pages 12

By sketching ideal types of family, the paper establishes the base for identifying the relevance of physical copresence within and for families, especially if they are understood as performative phenomenon. It then introduces and discusses different theoretical perspective about (co-)presence, which are regarded as drawing too narrow spatiotemporal boundaries, wrongly neglecting the stretching of copresence across time and space, and suggesting misleadingly that physicality suffices. However, according to the paper dynamic and performative dimensions should be stressed. Conceptualising not only families but also presence as something actively established and by acknowledging effects of communication media, cognition, and materialisations, different ways of being – or better – doing copresence and thereby doing family are carved out. This view opposes the traditional notions of copresence introduced before, especially because copresence as well as families are conceptualised as possibly household- and national-borders crossing phenomenon, while simple physical proximity is not regarded as guarantee for experiences of copresence. Concluding, interconnections of various forms of doings and modes of being present are emphasised, and (instead of bodily reach) time, synchronisations of experiences, the compatibility of knowledge, and performative acts are identified as key to copresence and families’ continued reproduction.