This book is a vital new resource in the sociological study of family life in the 21st century. The chapters in this volume explore a diverse range of family and intimate life experiences, such as personal choices about reproduction and how life choices and family forms are mediated by factors including geographical location, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, income and government policy.
Through a series of evidence-based chapters, leading sociologists explore a diverse range of family and intimate life experiences and the contexts within which they are lived and experienced. Each chapter delves into the lives and experiences of people whose choices in some way seem to disrupt normative and traditional ideas of family, parenting and childhood. Family patterns and experiences of living apart together, troubled families, children in care, culture, coupledom, same-sex families and digital technology are covered and examined innovatively through theoretical engagement.
Chapters also incorporate innovative technologies and their use within family spaces that shape the nature of human relationships and interactions. These negotiations within the family are globally contextualised within the political and ideological frameworks of societies at any given moment in time. The work recognises the sensitivity of family and personal lives and incorporates the increasing need of the impact of emotionality that forms part of knowledge production. Additionally, innovative methods are showcased in chapters on researching the family through socially just methods, researcher emotionality and visual data.
By bringing together thought-provoking research findings and innovative methodological and theoretical approaches, this collection of essays raises and articulates relevant, timely and future thinking for its readers. This book will therefore be indispensable for students and researchers as well as professionals and policymakers interested in understanding family life in the 21st century.
List of figures
List of tables
Notes on the Contributors
Foreword, Charlotte Fairclough
1. Introduction: Negotiating families and personal lives in the 21st Century
Sheila Quaid, Catriona Hugman and Angela Wilcock
2. Identity and kinship in lesbian parental families
3. Misrecognising ‘complex’ families: a social harm perspective
4. Understanding personal lives: after individualisation
Simon Duncan and Julie Carter
5. Disrupting doxa about children in care: Research from England
6. Negotiating intimacy and family at distance: Living apart together (LAT) relationships in China
7. Of salsa and singlemuslim.com: ethnographic insights about identity shifts and changed self-concepts in middle aged women’s post-separation/divorce transitions
Sarah Milton and Kaveri Qureshi
8. Exploring understandings of domestic violence with women in Sunderland: Negotiating and positioning emotionality within sensitive research
9. Displaying family in a digital age: How parents negotiate technology, visibility and privacy
Liam Berriman and Victoria Jaynes
10. Situating visual stories using photo elicitation and biographical narrative methods: Visual representations of family life in South Africa
11. Socially just, authentic research with families in Jamaica, Australia and the UK
Charlotte Hardacre, Kaz Stuart, Marnee Shay and Zoya Kinkead-Clark
12. Looking ahead: What does this mean for the sociology of families and personal lives in the future?
Sheila Quaid, Catriona Hugman and Angela Wilcock
'This book is unique in being the first of its kind to use disruptive ambiguity to fuel critical thinking of the normative understandings of family and life trajectories. It achieves this by challenging the inertia of embedded cultures and policies which still frame reality for non-normative families – a triumph for the creation of an authentic discursive place for societal progress'.
Professor Catherine Hayes, University of Sunderland, UK
'I would like to endorse this volume, which offers readers engagement with innovative work – both in terms of topic and/or methodology – in the field of family sociology. The book has an international appeal and both the editors and contributors are acknowledged experts in this field. The book aims to disrupt normative or expected accounts of family and the life course and – following the recent death of David HJ Morgan – it is encouraging to see that the volume intends to extend and rethink Morgan's work on family practices. I endorse and very much look forward to reading this publication'.
Dr Stephen Hicks, University of Manchester, member of the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives
'An important and timely collection taking forward scholarship in the field of family sociology. This volume draws on a range of empirical research projects investigating many hitherto under-researched life stages and family formations – methodologically innovative and theoretically ambitious, it will be of interest to researchers as well as practitioners working beyond the academy'.
Dr Charlotte Faircloth, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Social Research Institute