Shacking Up: An Autoethnographic Tale of Cohabitation

Academic Article


  • This autoethnography describes the author’s experience of cohabitation with her partner of seven years, Sam, and his two children, Mary and Michael. In particular, the author focuses on her troubled relationship with Mary. Using Rambo’s “layered account,” the author weaves together a multiplicity of scenes during the seven years she and Sam have been dating and then cohabiting to show how their relationships are constructed through daily interaction. The author moves back and forth through time and speak from a variety of perspectives and roles, including girlfriend, cohabiting partner, depressed person, professor, and autoethnographer. By intermingling these time periods and voices through autoethnography, the author endeavors to move beyond her personal experience and comment on the larger social, cultural, and political forces affecting cohabiting families. Finally, the author addresses the relational ethics of autoethnographic research.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • February 2011
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • autoethnography
  • cohabitation
  • ethics
  • narrative
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 204
  • End Page

  • 219
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 2