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.
Households are sites where a progressive politics of change towards sustainability can be nourished. Efforts to do so, however, must attend to gender dynamics. Our aim is to improve our understanding of how gender and sustainability intersect at the household level and engage with progressive politics in this context. To do so, we present a collaborative autoethnography focused on gender and sustainability in our household covering five years during which we experienced multiple lifecourse transitions. Building on this we answer two questions. First, how does the encounter between personal experiences and scholarship shape conceptual refinement? Second, how do personal experiences and scholarship combine to shape what we understand as progressive politics? This article not only advances the understanding of gender and sustainability in households and progressive politics in this context but also shows that collaborative autoethnography offers a valuable methodological toolkit for advancing research towards progressive politics.
This article explores the emotional challenges of digital documentation practices in child protection social work. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Swedish social services, it explores how social workers negotiate organisational and professional feeling rules when performing child protection investigations using a digital documentation-based structure. Theoretically informed by Arlie Hochschild and other emotion sociologists’ discussions on the origins of feeling rules at work, the study concentrates on how organisational feeling rules challenge professional ideals and force situated negotiations. The documentation structure was introduced and framed as a guarantee that social workers would no longer be guided by emotions but by facts; at the same time, new emotional dilemmas arose when professionals worked according to these ideals. Negotiations between organisational and professional feeling rules were identified regarding traces of emotional work in the documentation, compliance with documentation-based routines in unpredictable client interactions, and professional (dis)satisfaction when documenting activities took time away from meeting with clients. Adding to the existing body of research, the study demonstrates that digital documentation practices deepen the increasingly ambivalent place for emotions in social work and that organisational-administrative emotional regimes are negotiated in situ with other ideals by social workers and frontline managers. By giving examples of social workers’ micro-resistance to organisational feeling rules, the study contributes theoretically with insights into the different origins of feeling rules in professional welfare work and the power (a)symmetry between them. Finally, by situating the tensions between competing ideals in everyday practice, the study adds to the understanding of technostress and emotional fatigue.
This article deals with the causes and consequences of divorce in a group of women with minor children in Spain, a country in Southern Europe that presents a pre-eminently familistic character based on a marked division of gender roles. We detected an imbalance between qualitative and quantitative studies on this topic, of which the latter are more numerous in the recently published literature. For this reason, here we wish to show the people behind the data by conferring two questions making up the analysis axes of this research. First, we deal with the causes of couple breakups, which are related to inequality in the distribution of housework and care tasks in all cases. Second, we analyse their speeches about work and family conciliation after divorce, with particular importance given to the presence, or not, of a strong family network.
Names have heightened importance in adoption, affecting the identities of individuals who are adopted and adoptive family making. In this article, we use critical discourse analysis to gauge how names, and especially children’s forenames, are addressed in the specificities of legal and policy texts governing and guiding the milieu of people affected by adoption in England. We argue that the inclusions, omissions and opacity of content on names we uncover are outcomes of underlying representations of ‘family’ within the texts, whereby ‘family surnaming’ is constructed as the pre-eminent naming issue in adoption, above children’s forename-based identity rights. Our focus on names in adoption advances sociological understandings of the power of names in representing family relationships and individual identities, and of how official discourses of law and policy can privilege some types of relationships over others, and the rights of some family members over others.
The Independent Review of England’s agri-food systems, commonly known as the National Food Strategy (NFS), was commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2019. The NFS report, published in two stages in 2020 and 2021, outlines a range of interventions and policy proposals to achieve better agri-food outcomes in terms of public health and environmental sustainability. This commentary focuses on the challenges associated with incorporating a diversity of voices within the NFS’s evidence base. To achieve this, the NFS mobilised a series of public dialogue events to capture lay perspectives. Led by professional facilitators, these events sought to open a deliberative space to explore the workings of agri-food systems, leading to the publication of a public engagement report in late 2021. While diverse views were recorded, the report found ‘a strong appetite for change’ among the participants, eager to address the problems associated with current agri-food systems. In commenting on the dialogue process, we identify three distinct problematics which arise from the NFS’s public engagement strategy. Firstly, we consider the array of subject positions at play in the report. Secondly, we discuss the ‘epistemologies of engagement’, reflecting on the different forms of knowledge that are enrolled through the process of public engagement. Thirdly, we consider the under-acknowledged politics that are at play in these kinds of public engagement exercises and the limits of ‘co-production’ as a methodological principle. We conclude by drawing out the wider (national and international) implications of this particular form of public engagement which aims to incorporate lay perspectives into policy development processes.
In this article, I argue that care is a useful tool to think about consumption as embedded in social relations within and outside the market, and draw the consequences for moving towards sustainable lifestyles. To do so, I engage in a review of the literature that brings together consumption and care in its various forms. I review three main bodies of work: the literature on consumption that links care to consumer behaviour and consumption practices; the work addressing the commodifications of care and how it feeds in the neoliberal organisation of society; and the literature on climate change and the development of sustainable lifestyles. I close with a reflection on some lessons of care for academic researchers studying sustainability, consumption and a transition towards more sustainable and just societies.
Laurence Godin’s () piece is a very welcome and commendable attempt to provide a broader synthetisation of the current literature on care and consumption, and to generate some critical insights for future work in this area. I am drawing on Godin’s article to make some further observations. These are three-fold, pertaining to our current understandings of care, markets and consumption respectively.