Efter kärnfamiljen familjepraktiker efter skilsmässa
Sammanfattning: This dissertation is about post-divorce families. The central question is how family is constructed after divorce. The aim is to study how family relationships are negotiated, transformed and reproduced after the separation. The research is based on 24 in-depth interviews with twelve young adults, between the ages of 21 and 29, with divorced parents. Their narratives about their families are analysed using a theoretical framework inspired by the individualization theories (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2001; Giddens 1997, 1995) and the doing family perspective (Morgan 1996; Silva & Smart 1999a), especially focusing on the concepts of negotiation and family practices. More specific questions raised in the dissertation are how are family boundaries drawn by the young adults? How do the interviewees understand the new organization of their families, which has been renegotiated after the separation? What perception of motherhood and fatherhood can be found in the narratives? And, finally, to what extent are family relationships after divorce negotiated in the way that the individualization theories claim?The results show a quite complex picture of family life after divorce. While both parents are often described as participating parents, the family practices after divorce appear clearly gendered. The mother’s involvement in taking care of the child seems not to be negotiable in the same way as the father’s. Hence, motherhood appears natural and taken for granted to a much greater extent than fatherhood. The negotiations between the parents after divorce can be of both an explicit and implicit character according to the narratives, but yet another kind of negotiation are the indirect negotiations. In these negotiations, the child is used as a go-between or carrier, a position that seems to limit their own possibility to participate in the decision making. Another aspect that seems to diminish children’s participation is the principle of loyalty to both their biological parents. The results also show that the children’s living arrangements after divorce are characterized by changes and renegotiations rather than being permanent. The parents’ new partners are described in different ways in the narratives, however, they are often seen as turning points that have a major influence on the family relationships. The nuclear family as a normative ideal is present in all the interviews but in different ways. While some express an explicit critique of it, others regard it as something that they want for themselves in the future. What constitutes a family according to the narratives? Firstly, blood ties and formal relationships are pointed out. Secondly, the feeling of solidarity and closeness is viewed perhaps as the most evident element of family life. This feeling can be created by open communication as well as by spending time together on a regular basis. Thirdly, growing up together and/or sharing everyday life practices are also considered as vital to develop and maintain close family ties. This means that the family boundaries after divorce are renegotiated over time rather than permanent. These negotiations take place in a certain context, where gender norms, earlier experiences and other social relationships play an important role.
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