Implications of Social Capital for Family Life: The Case of « Non Statutory Parent »

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 413
Oral Presentation
Marianne MODAK , Social Work, Haute école travail social & la santé, Lausanne, Switzerland
My communication is on the subject of the « non- statutory parent», i.e. the person who, within a couple, fulfils the role of « parent » for a child not legally his or her own, but the offspring of his or her mate. The main results I will present is that the family’s environment of friends, and kin represents a social capital that plays an integrating role through its validation of the NSP’s right to be with the child.  This role is rooted in 5 structural dimensions that came to light in the course of the qualitative analysis: selectiveness of link choices versus their contingency; balanced mobilisation of the parental networks versus skewed emphasis on one or two SP’s or NSP’s network; presence of facilitating figures within the broader family circle; presence of individual networks within the network of friends of the couple, and degree of embeddedness of close personal relationships within organised collective practices.  The study present an analysis of the social capital of the family environment and its role in shaping, defining and fixing the obligations of the non-statutory parent, stemming from a will to consolidate and increase the parental role despite an unfavourable legal context.

The study is based on a sample of twenty couples living in various family configurations, i.e. hetero and homosexual step-families with whom we carried out three successive rounds of in-depth interviews; first with both members of the couple in order to reconstitute their conjugal and parental history; then with the non-statutory parent, to collect information about his or her experience and strategies deployed to consolidate his or her status within the family and in relation with society in general ; finally with the couple once again, with the goal of analysing the conjugal and family dynamics.