Different, Marginal or Discriminated? Representation of the Family and Practices of Parental Responsibility in the Opinion of Same-Sex Parents and Their Children

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: Booth 64
Oral Presentation
Roberta BOSISIO , Department of Culture, Politics and Society, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
In the variety of family configurations that characterizes contemporary pluralistic societies, homo-parental families stand out as a “social laboratory”, as they are confronted with new, complex psychological and social problems. Moreover, in Italy they construct parenting in a condition of anomie, owing to the lack of social and legal institutionalisation.

In the paper, after giving an overview on the orientations expressed by sociological and legal culture on the concept of parental responsibility, we present some findings from a pilot study conducted with Italian same-sex parents and children born or grown up in homoparental families. The aim was to investigate parents’ and children’s social representations of their family and practices of parental responsibility. Adults and children were in depth interviewed and involved in focus groups. More specifically, we interviewed 4 couples of gay fathers and 6 couples of lesbian mothers, we involved 7 children – aged 9-12 – in two focus groups and finally we individually interviewed 2 girls over 18.

Adults and children were asked to talk about their daily life in order to identify the practices of parenting and the representations with regard to the dynamics governing the roles and practices of different parental figures. We detected norms, values, upbringing style, child care, and disciplinary practices, and their experience with respect to agencies of socialization, especially school.