This article explores the ways residents of Finnish small-scale communes navigate boundaries between personal separateness and the group’s togetherness within a domestic space. Studies on communal living have shed light on the ambivalence in communal relations, where people choose to live together but simultaneously remain independent from one another. However, the ways space affects their navigations of this ambivalence have not yet been analysed in detail. Based on 31 semi-structured interviews with residents of Finnish small-scale communes, floor plans drawn by interviewees of their homes and two ethnographic fieldwork periods, I argue that navigations of the residents’ separateness and unity are deeply intertwined with spatial processes and that the sensory and embodied spatial connections complicate the possibilities of distinguishing the individual from the group. Communal dwellers navigated their mutual boundaries through their daily use of the spaces, which centred embodied acts, spatial orientations and sensory experiences.
The South African Children’s Act, 2005 defines ‘care’ to include safeguarding all aspects of a child’s wellbeing. Despite this obligation falling equally on both parents, studies have shown that mothers in South Africa continue to take greater responsibility for childcare than fathers. Using the most recently available nationally representative quantitative data on physical and financial childcare, collected for the National Income Dynamics Study, this article presents a detailed overview of the involvement in childcare of men compared with women, and fathers compared with mothers. The article includes examining the gender and parental division in assistant childcare, investigating the role played by absent parents in regular physical and financial care, and analysing the gender division in household income of households in which children live.
Gambling is an addictive behaviour that causes significant harms to individuals, families and societies. Problematic gambling can have profound impacts on family life, including financial destitution and relationship breakdown. In addictive relationships, addictive behaviour dominates over other social commitments.
The COVID-19 pandemic had important implications on family life and gambling behaviours. This is likely to have affected family relationships in families experiencing gambling harms. The current study uses evidence from a qualitative survey (N=39) and interviews (N=5) collected with family members of gamblers to explore how family members of gamblers experienced addictive relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland.
The results show that gambling negatively affects intimate relationships, relationality and interdependencies in families. For many, gambling-related harms were accentuated by the intensification of addictive relationships during the pandemic. For others, availability restrictions of gambling brought relief. The results also show a need for more family-oriented help services and highlight the importance of prevention.
In China, Confucian authoritative familism has long established the tradition of paternal grandparents caring for grandchildren. With urbanisation in progress, many older people choose to settle in cities with their children, mainly to look after their grandchildren, and are known as ‘migrant grandparents’. Through a study of this group in Shanghai, the article reveals four other roles of migrant grandparents in addition to the role of caregivers: namely, workers, leisure seekers, in-laws (qingjia) and spouses. The prioritisation of grandparents’ roles demonstrates their increasing subjectivity in self-determination, transformative social values and personal life expectations. This article argues that Chinese older adults have begun to individualise and that these practices have contributed both to the destruction of the collective single-core family model in traditional and neo-familism and the emergence of independent, dual-core familism between two generations.
In this article, we discuss epistemic injustice in the International Child Development Programme (ICDP), a universalised parenting support programme in Norway that is mandatory for all newly arrived refugees. We show that despite the programme’s good intentions, it constitutes a form of epistemic injustice because it enforces a state-endorsed epistemology that proffers the ‘right’ way of parenting. Using data collected during ICDP training for a group of newly arrived refugee parents from Syria, we explore how the ideals embedded in the programme influence the interactions and epistemic exchanges between participants and mentors. This study contributes to discussions on parenting support for marginalised groups by revealing the functioning of epistemic injustice as new inhabitants in a welfare state are targeted by a social support programme aimed at enhancing their parenting skills.
This article presents our Family Stories model identifying self-reported change behaviours and environments by families developed from our two-phase research in an inner-city area in the south of England. The research focused on parents whose families had experienced complex issues affecting the behaviour, wellbeing, learning and/or safety of children, and who had received social care support from services that had broadly adopted a trauma-informed approach. We identified parents’ self-reported change behaviours and environments, in the context of the high rate of families relapsing and returning for multiple episodes of support. We also identify key challenges to securing long-term positive change, including the barriers to nurturing a strong and successful parenting identity, in which parents are more able to sustain positive change. Our model identifies four enablers, evident in the self-reported change behaviours narrated by our participants: community, allyship, strategy and mastery.
This research set out to investigate displaced women’s resilience and growth relationally, including relationships between displaced women and their children and how growth might extend to those working with displaced women. A unique relational, narrative and ethnographic approach demonstrated how processes of ‘reciprocal growth’ were constructed. Moving beyond previous concepts such as vicarious post-traumatic growth and ‘reciprocal resilience’, the unique finding of the research was women’s and volunteers’ co-construction of resilience and growth interpersonally and intersubjectively. ‘Othering’ narratives were dismantled through shared story and reciprocal human relationships, which allowed for a growthful connection between intra-psychic meaning making and wider community: linking what’s ‘within’ (I) to what’s ‘between’ (we). Consciously paying attention to reciprocal growth processes has empowering connotations for displaced women, those in relationship with them and society itself.
In this article, we analyse how mediated discourses of toxic friendships echo and reconstruct the category of the toxic friend. We ask: what kind of assumptions does the toxic friendship discourse draw on, and what forms of subjectivity and interpersonal relationships are encouraged? Employing a critical discourse analysis of digital texts, we argue that the discursive category of the toxic friend draws on a simplistic set of classificatory dichotomies distinguishing between the good and the toxic friend. We also suggest that the popular labelling of difficult friendships as ‘toxic’ reflects the contemporary diffusion of the notion of toxicity in contemporary public culture. We contend that this discourse reflects the discursive conflation between therapeutic culture and neoliberal wellness logic, with the figure of the toxic friend constructed in ways that support imperatives for self-care and self-governance. While much of the advice situates friendship as an important personal tie, there is very little encouragement to ‘work’ on these relationships. As such, these discourses offer a reductive, disposable approach to friendship ties that overlooks the complexities and lived experiences of friendship relations.
Inspired by the anthropology of social policy, this article explores the labyrinth of knowledge forms, politics and morality through which a certain programme for early childhood development (ECD) has unfolded in Brazil. By tracking the materiality of ideas – the actors who defend them, the experiments that back them, and the institutional vectors that assure them legitimacy – I weave together variegated threads from neuroscientists, BBC documentaries and Brazilian politicians to moralised motherhoods, criminal brains and, finally, a surprising appraisal on the diminished cognitive capacity of a whole population. Nurtured in the critical analyses of intensive parenting and correlated discussions on ‘chaotic concepts’, I hope to seize on the Brazilian experience to incorporate a new variable into the cost-benefit equation often used to favour ECD – that of the moral fall-out concerning visions of gender, family and class.
This study draws on identity theory to explore parental and work-related identities by comparing primary caregivers and breadwinners. It examined how the salience and centrality of identities vary by gender and family role, and the relationships between identities and individuals’ involvement in paid work and childcare. A sample of 236 parents with young children completed extensive questionnaires. As hypothesised, primary breadwinners had more salient and central work identities than primary caregivers. However, there was no difference in parental identities, and within each role category, women had more salient and central work identities than men. Finally, the salience and centrality of parents’ work-related identities were positively related to time investment in paid work and negatively related to hours of childcare. These findings shed light on the complex relationships between family roles, gender and identities and emphasise the importance of distinguishing between identity salience and centrality as two components of self-structure.