This session enquires into the condition of intimate relationships in contemporary urban life. In both the South African and global context there has been a radical change in the recent decades affecting how people develop relationships, a sense of family and home. The rapid acceleration of global circulation and communication has resulted in a society where many people are constantly on the move. Increasing numbers of people are living in countries different from their place of birth, and communicating takes place to a large extent via the internet. In the South African context, this session will examine the consequences of a society undergoing a rapid state of transformation on familial and inter-generational relationships. It will also look at the effect of the high rate of HIV on the way people develop relationships. In the South African context, which has in recent decades seen high rates of divorce, violence in the home, incest and rape, it would also be valuable to examine the effects of oppression and a culture of 'control by separation' on the nuclear family. The predominance of dysfunctional families has led to the development of alternative families and sub-cultures, such as the gangs on the Cape Flats and in prisons. The discussion seeks to propose the possibilities and potentials of other alternative ‘families' or 'informal networks' which permit the growth and circulation of new ideas and sources of meaning for the individual.