“The Futures We Want” From A Family Studies Perspective

The Committee on Family Research (RC06) – one of the largest and oldest ISA committees ­– brings together scholars who wish to pursue family research in a critical and interdisciplinary perspective and within comparative and transnational approaches. We seek to understand the complex intersections of family life, social contexts and individual experience, including how family life interfaces with social class, gender, race, ethnicity, and generation. As such, RC06 is well placed to respond creatively to the ISA Forum Call for better futures.

We invited our RC06 young and/or early-career scholars to address the theme of the ISA Forum: “The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World”. In a brief text (up to 200 words), they were asked to consider it while focusing on their own research. Here are four thought-provoking contributions from Australia, Portugal, Japan, and Taiwan.

– Secretary and treasurer Barbara Barbosa Neves, on behalf of the RC06 board.

Luke Gahan, the picture is a link to his websiteLuke Gahan:Separating Same-Sex Parents

Just like other parents, same-sex parents separate and are required to navigate family law courts, post-separation parenting, family counselling, single parenting and/or the creation of blended or reconstituted families.

However, the law has not always recognized same-sex relationships or their families and as a consequence non-biological parents have lost all contact with their children. Similarly, separating same-sex parents have often felt alienated by what they perceive as heteronormative service providers, such as lawyers, counsellors, therapist, and government service providers. Continue reading

“Parenthood” – The Making Of

Worldwide, every second 2,6 babies see the light of day. Some of these babies help to transform their producers into first-time parents, a transition which involves specific gendered imaginings and manifestations. As a group of family sociologists at the University of Vienna, we are currently looking behind the scenes of these gendered practices and processes at the transition to parenthood in order to shed more light on the (in)equalities between mothers(-to-be) and fathers(-to-be). Against the backdrop of sociological research revealing a (re-)traditionalization of family roles after the birth of the first child, we ask: How does this happen?

Within this project we explain the practices which women and men are part of during the transition to parenthood. We focus on particular circumstances that support or prevent gender inequality during this transition. Furthermore, we are interested in the involvement of mothers(-to-be) and fathers(-to-be) in all upcoming tasks and responsibilities concerning pregnancy- and child-related care work. Based on practice theory, we want to know more about the making of parenthood: How are parents made and figured within the transition to parenthood? How do they transform from being a couple to being (gendered) parents? What are becoming mothers and fathers doing at the transition to parenthood? Which participants are entangled within the process of becoming a parent?

Parents are produced through the manifold assemblages they are embedded in. At the transition to parenthood women and men are entangled with a variety of other participants in activities, as shown below:

Graphic showing the various factors influencing the gendered division of labor between men and women

Continue reading