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Navigating Relationships in the Modern Family

Communication, Identity, and Difference

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Edited By Jordan Soliz and Colleen Warner Colaner

Despite growing recognition of the diversity of family forms and structures, discourses among family scholars and practitioners as well as in popular culture continue to operate from the assumption that families are fairly homogeneous in terms of the values and beliefs, social positions, and identities of individual family members. Navigating Relationships in the Modern Family provides a unique and important perspective on how communication within and about families related to issues of identity and difference can ameliorate negative processes and, at times, potentially amplify positive outcomes such as well-being and relational solidarity. Chapters in this edited volume focus on divergent social identities in the family (e.g., interfaith families, multiethnic-racial families, acculturation and immigration) as well as differences emerging from family formative processes (e.g., stepfamilies, in-law relationships, foster care). In addition to synthesizing the current state of the scholarship in these particular family contexts, each chapter discusses the interplay between families and the larger social and cultural context. For instance, how does grandparent-grandchild communication influence attitudes toward older adults and aging? Can we improve interfaith dialogue in larger societal interactions by understanding communication in interfaith families? How do ideologies of social class and social discourses about adoption and foster care influence family functioning? Chapters conclude with a discussion on implications for scholars and family practitioners. The edited volume would make an ideal primary or secondary required text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses on families as well as specialized family courses on understudied family relationships and forms. The volume also serves as an important resource for family scholars and practitioners.

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5. Queering Family Communication (Jimmie Manning)

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5. Queering Family Communication

Jimmie Manning

Queer families, simply put, are families where one more of the family members are queer or where something about the structure/nature/being/doing of the family is inherently queer. As bloggers K&W explain,

A queer family could certainly be a family with or without kids. Queer families can have two moms or two dads. They can have one mom and one dad. They have one parent. They can have more than two parents. They can also include one or more people who identify as trans* or genderqueer. They can include bisexual, omnisexual, pansexual, polysexual, asexual, or queer people. Queer families have kids by marriage, kids from previous relationships and/or pregnancies. They can add kids through foster care, adoption, surrogacy, sperm donors (both on and off the books), and good old-fashioned P-I-V intercourse. They can include beloved furbabies (our pet children). They can include supportive queer family relationships that came about out of kinship or necessity in place of or in addition to our legal/bio families. (2013, 6)

It is difficult to ascertain how many queer families exist, especially because in many parts of the world there are severe social and legal penalties for expressing queer identity and/or engaging in acts that are deemed queer. Although queer marriage is now legal in over 30 countries (Masci, Sciupac, & Lipka, 2019), homosexuality is illegal in many nation-states around the world, with 13 United Nations member states still enforcing...

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