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There is extensive research on the governmentality of marriage migration, but more is needed about the role of digital spaces. This article focuses on how online US spousal reunification forums and their users define and police ideological norms regarding the US family and decide which transnational relationships are ‘worthy’ of immigration. We show that through their interactions on the site, users perform borderwork and police family, race and nation. More generally, we argue that online forums constitute institutional settings whose members can reproduce or challenge hegemonic state discourses about ‘proper’ families and national belonging. Further, we suggest that advice given to or withheld from forum participants constitutes an exercise in digital governmentality. Overall, our findings contribute to conversations about the role digital spaces play in institutionalising gatekeeping practices intended to police intimacy, immigration and national belonging.

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This article advances the unfolding research agenda on families, relationships and societies in the so-called ‘platform society’ by applying both a relational lens and a multigenerational approach. Our scoping review of the multidisciplinary research literature revealed two main themes linking relationality and digital platforms: (1) the intensification of connectedness, especially in relation to intimacy, belonging and care, and (2) power struggles and conflicts in a context of interdependency and vulnerability. The studies identified suggest that relationality is transformed rather than interrupted through the emergence of new platformed practices as well as the reconfiguration of existing ones. Hence we propose an emphasis on ‘platformised relationality’, and call for greater specificity in the analysis of platform affordances in future research on families’ engagement with digital platforms, as well as greater attention to family relationships beyond the often-studied parent–child relationship.

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In the wake of war and displacement, families like Oksana’s and Anna’s have found solace and connection through the use of digital technology. This article explores the experiences of Oksana and Anna, a Ukrainian woman aged 51 and her 23-year-old daughter who currently live in Edinburgh, separated from Oksana’s husband (Anna’s father), extended family and friends due to the war in Ukraine. Through a narrative lens, Oksana shares her reliance on communication tools such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and Facetime to bridge the physical distance between loved ones. The family’s daily rituals, from shared dinners over video calls to collaborative board games, highlight the importance of maintaining familial bonds amidst adversity. Additionally, the article sheds light on the broader societal context, comparing the prevalence of digital communication practices in Ukraine versus Scotland.

The narrative also touches upon the profound impact of technology on healthcare management, particularly in supporting Maria, Oksana’s daughter, who battles diabetes. Lastly, Anna reflects on the emotional complexities of maintaining family ties amidst war, emphasizing the significance of technology in preserving connection and providing a lifeline to loved ones in times of distress. Through stories about air raid alerts and family group chats, Anna underscores the resilience and adaptability of Ukrainian families facing adversity.

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This article explores the use of online social networks for seeking and sharing information about marriage migration. In Europe, since the 1990s, this migration has faced heightened scrutiny. Laws and administrative practices have added complexity to immigration procedures. Manifold screening methods gauge the authenticity of relationships aligning with the host nation’s concept of a suitable family for integration. In this context, informal self-help groups emerged to offer support to those facing burdensome formalities and local administrative intricacies. Based on extensive qualitative fieldwork, this article examines the significance of these support groups, drawing on the concept of intimacy as a shared competency. Here, intimacy is conceived as an active relational skill that counterbalances the limitations of migration policies. The analysis transcends the division between online and offline modes of living, shedding new light on intimacy and extimité – the sharing of one’s intimate self with others for validation – in doing family.

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This article contributes to the sociological debate on how digital technologies (DT) have penetrated the lives of families and children, and examines the relevance of digital technologies for children and for practices of ‘doing family’. We analysed qualitative data from focus groups and interviews with children between 5 and 10 years old (n=231) and interviews with further members of children’s families from four different European countries (Austria, Estonia, Norway and Romania). Results reveal that DT contributed to doing family when families created and maintained a feeling of ‘we-ness’ through digital activities; when DT required families to balance different needs, rights, or emotions; and when caring practices were supported through DT. Children appeared as significant actors in practices of doing family. As DT helped to decouple practices of doing family from physical co-presence, doing family was expanded. When children’s needs were fulfilled and their digital competences were enhanced, their resilience increased.

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Due to changes in family planning policy, families with multiple children are re-emerging in China. This article looked at parental stress and parenting practices in Chinese families with one child, two children and three children, and explored to what extent, controlling for socioeconomic factors, the number of children and parenting practices influenced parental stress. Using a sample from southern China, we measured parental stress and parenting practices among parents who have at least one child in primary school. Results showed that having multiple children increased parental pressure, and this was partially caused by a change in parenting practices: compared with their counterparts with only one child, parents with multiple children tended to use less positive encouragement but more coercive parenting. Findings suggested that in the context of low fertility, ‘parenting’ is more important than ‘fertility’. Effective parenting practices help reduce pressure, which in turn reduce a family’s fear of childbearing.

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The emergent practice of sharing textual and audiovisual content concerning underage children online by their parents or guardians, also known as ‘sharenting’, is part of emerging digital cultures, which are enabled by affordances provided by new media technologies. Based on data from a passive virtual ethnography of Facebook communities, this article analyses the sharenting practices of parents involved in judicial litigations. While contributing to wider debates on doing and displaying family and controversial sharenting activities, the results of this article show how sharenting is addressed in online communities by administrators and other users; how the privacy vs openness paradox about sharing information and content concerning children’s involvement in judicial litigations is negotiated by parents and administrators; and how online and offline parenting cultures affect sharenting as a practice.

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Digital technologies play an increasing role in intimate couple relationships, prompting new approaches to better understand the contemporary digital relationship landscape. This article uses feminist new materialist assemblage thinking to explore the functioning and processes of a relationship support app, Paired. Deploying diffractive analysis, it presents three composite narratives that explore the temporality of couple relationships, relationship work and situated practices of coupledom. Composite narratives retain the emotional truth of original accounts through combined participant voices, enabling attention to be focused on the user–relationship–app assemblage. Findings suggest that routinised app notifications prompt meaningful everyday relationship maintenance behaviours. Human–technology intra-actions thus generate positive relationship health and wellbeing behaviours which may have lasting benefits. This article’s contributions are therefore largely methodological and conceptual, with analysis of supplementary primary interview data (n=20) derived from a mixed-methods evaluation, including brief longitudinal surveys over three months (n=440) and a detailed survey (n=745).

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This article draws on ethnographic research to explore how an ethic of care is incorporated into fathers’ everyday family lives. Drawing on feminist conceptualisations of the ‘components of care’, this research investigates how fathers recognise and interpret care needs, as well as observing how such needs are practically attended to. Central to this article is an exploration of the extent to which men’s integration of care ethics can be seen to consolidate ideals of hegemonic masculinity or whether newly emerging forms of caring masculinities are challenging traditional gendered inequalities in care work. Analysis of fathers’ recognition of care needs and what they care ‘about’ implies a masculinised coding, in which traditional masculine values are recast to align with an ethic of care. It is argued that such framings stand to reaffirm hegemonic processes, with caring forms of masculinity representing a new hegemon. However, observations of fathers’ embodied caregiving arguably demonstrate how caring ‘for’ children can challenge traditional ideals of care labour, with men’s bodies recast within an ethic of care. Ultimately, this article contributes nuanced understandings of how men interpret and practise components of care, offering distinctions in the gendered trajectories of caring ‘for’ and caring ‘about’.

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Drawing on an empirical narrative research study, this article illuminates the lived experiences of Indian adoptees of closed adoptions, that is, those who had no contact with their birth parents in the run-up to or following adoption. The findings of five in-depth accounts comprising young adult and adult adoptees present a deep and nuanced understanding of what remains a relatively unexplored area of adoptive family lives in contemporary India practised in an environment where the intricacies of culture and notions of biological ties are privileged over social ties. This article illustrates how the way adoption stories are lived, experienced and shaped contributes to adoptees’ understandings of how to navigate the challenges to confirm their membership in their adoptive families in a situation where these relationships fall under constant suspicion, denial and disapproval. While it is accepted that this non-representative sample cannot reflect wider perspectives of adoptive lives, it nevertheless highlights the inherent complexities and provides a useful springboard for further research.

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