Joint Couple Interviews in Sociological Research on Couples: Methodological and Practical Considerations

Christine Wimbauer, Mona Motakef


Joint couple interviews allow for the collection of data on interactions, negotiations, couple performances, and couple presentations by couples in situ. Joint interviews provide insight into concrete couple practices and representations of those practices as part of the interview as a form of doing couple, but also as doing gender, doing family, doing recognition, or doing inequality. By focusing on individuals-in-couple-relationships, couple interviews can reveal power relations and inequalities within the couple relationship, the processual quality, and the dynamic of the social relation.

Joint couple interviews are increasingly employed in interpretive social research, however, less frequently than individual interviews. To date, there has been little systematic work in German-speaking countries on methodological and methodical issues related to joint couple interviews. Proceeding from an interpretative perspective and considering couple relationships as a reality sui generis and as a distinct object of analysis, we outline its interests for sociology. We also briefly review selected empirical studies on couples, and focus especially on methodological questions related to conducting joint couple interviews, as well as  limitations and open method(olog)ical questions (not only) for the sociological research on couples.



couple interviews; interpretative paradigm; qualitative methods; qualitative methodology; intimate relationships; social interactions; gender inequalities


Copyright (c) 2017 Christine Wimbauer, Mona Motakef

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