Parenthood and Families beyond Heteronormativity

Deadline: 30/06/2018

  • Special issue of GENDER: Journal for Gender, Culture and Society on Parenthood and Families beyond Heteronormativity.
  • Abstracts (1-2 pages) for papers of 50,000 characters
  • More info: pdf

In addition to the heterosexual ‚nuclear‘ family, today, parenthood and families are very diverse. For example, families headed by same-sex parents live with biological and non-biological (such as adoptive or foster) children. In queer families, gay, lesbian, bi and trans* couples often have a co-parenting arrangement to care for children. Furthermore, reproductive technologies, such as sperm donation, in vitro fertilisation and surrogacy expand the possibilities of biological genetic parenthood. New family concepts such as shared or multiple parenthood have yet to be researched as a (new) empirical phenomena. Due to an increasing social visibility and legal recognition of same-sex couple relationships as a result of marriage equality laws and reform of parental rights, a significant expansion of the possibilities of legally recognised parenthood is to be expected. Considering traditional as well as new parenting constellations and family forms, a tension arises between empirical diversity on one hand and institutional and legal norms, as well as what is socially perceived as ‘normal’, on the other hand.

The special issue invites scholars, especially from the fields of cultural, social, gender and legal studies, to participate in a theoretically and empirically grounded discussion of parenthood, families, and parenting beyond heteronormative kinship relations. The focus reflects on everyday family practices: How is doing family and doing reproduction realised in these families? Following from this view, accompanying ambivalences and social inequalities should be taken into consideration. New legal and political options, as well as technological possibilities, are widely used in practice. New reproductive technologies enable procreation outside of the heterosexual couple dyad and contest the idea of ‚natural conception’. Conversely, new forms of exclusion can be observed. Usually, only forms of love and partnership are legally recognised by the state if they resemble a ‘normal nuclear family‘. How affective (care) relationships, e.g., in polyamorous relationships, coparenting, and multi-parent families or queer communities, are experienced and put into practice remains a theoretically and empirically open question.

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