Queering Australian Homes: The relationship between distance labour, mobile intimacies and nationalism. (14681)
Distance labour is an emerging labour practice in Australia. It is increasingly seen as an opportunity for the Australian workforce, but its relative newness generates multiple unknown qualities. Distance labour describes any labour where the employee travels a substantial distance to a worksite and spends periods of time there (usually in temporary accommodation). Utilising the transgressive ideals of queer theory, this paper seeks to connect the prevailing attitudes of ‘normal’ heterosexual space and homemaking practices with the production of a national imaginary built on the back of distance labourers. Substantive temporal and spatial obstacles to intimacy are presented to couples engaged in distance labour, with identities and homemaking practices both fluid and heavily negotiated. The shifting socio-cultural expectations of a more mobile labour force co-exists alongside other efflorescent homemaking practices like co-habitation and queer coupledom, and challenges the conservative ideal of the traditional married homemaking couple. The distance labourers discussed in this paper are miners, sex workers and health care professionals. Ethnographic qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews and reflexive month-long participant diaries of couples serves as the basis for intimate research exploring common assumptions about haptic relationships, intimate subjectivities, gendered homespaces, and the possibilities of mobile lives.