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Forming a family in the time to come: social changes and research perspectives

Call for proposal in English or Italian to the panel “Forming a family in the time to come: social changes and research perspectives” (see below and in attachment) https://www.siacantropologia.it/p39/ to be held at the conference of the Società Italiana di Antropologia Culturale in Rome or online in september 2021.

How to submit a proposal: https://www.siacantropologia.it/call-for-papers/ 

Forming a family in the time to come: social changes and research perspectives

Convenors: Alice Sophie Sarcinelli (CNRS/Centre Norbert Elias, France), Claudia Mattalucci (Università di Milano Bicocca)

The various contemporary family configurations have experienced the current pandemics in different ways depending on their specific features. Existing forms of familyhood have been severely challenged or temporarily suspended, starting with the more ‘classic’ ways that it expresses itself in Euro-American societies – such as family lunches or holidays, Sundays at the grandparents’ place, weddings, baptisms, etc. Family homes are less and less open to non-cohabitants, and the activities of their inhabitants have been compacted: school, work, sports and other activities have continued behind the screen. Extended families, especially those composed of migrants or that are otherwise transnational, often found themselves separated by municipal, regional and national ordinances and borders. Couples making use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies abroad or with pending adoption requests have had to temporarily suspend their reproductive projects.

Boundaries, closures and re-openings have (re)configured not only kinship relations, but also gender relations and relations between generations. The conditions dictated by the pandemic, along with the political treatment of the emergency in different regions and countries, has exacerbated inequalities in general, and social and gender inequalities in particular (Mooi-Reci, Risman 2021). The most vulnerable groups have faced increased fragility: economically disadvantaged students were particularly penalised by distance learning; many mothers took on a heavier burden in terms of domestic and care work; grandparents of parents who had no other solution exposed themselves to the risk of contagion to care for their grandchildren; female victims of violence found themselves alone in the face of a risk exacerbated by confinement (Gribaldo, Fusaschi 2020); families with disabilities had to deal with the effects produced by isolation and the limitation of outdoor activities on the most vulnerable. Day after day, families had to readjust, responding to the measures dictated by policy-makers (Di Silvio 2020; Vereni 2020). The past months have often been spent waiting for (re)openings. During this suspended time, while waiting for the ‘post-pandemic’, how do we imagine being and doing family in the time to come?
During this period, anthropologists of the family have been confronted with these transformations. How can we look at the family at a time when the doors of the home have remained closed as never before? How do we cross the physical, symbolic and imaginary boundaries that were created during the pandemic? How to research the family today? And how to design research in the uncertain time to come?

Keywords: familyhood; social changes; inequalities; vulnerability; methodology

References

–        Di Silvio R., «Quando usciremo di casa…». Lo spazio domestico in stato di eccezione, in Guigoni A., Ferrari R., Pandemia 2020. La vita quotidiana ai tempi del COVID19, Danyang: M&J Publishing House, 2020, pp. 173-176.

–        Gribaldo A., Fusaschi M. Lo sguardo obliquo del genere, Storie virali, 2020, https://www.treccani.it/magazine/atlante/cultura/Storie_virali_lo_sguardo_obliquo.html

–        Mooi-Reci I, Risman BJ. The Gendered Impacts of COVID-19: Lessons and Reflections. Gender & Society. 2021;35(2):161-167. doi:10.1177/08912432211001305

–        Vereni, P. A scuola dal virus? Pandemia e doppi legami del sistema educativo, Rivista di Antropologia Contemporanea 2020, 1: 217-226.