SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Chib, A., Malik, S., Aricat, R. G., & Kadir, S. Z. (2014). Migrant mothering and mobile phones: Negotiations of transnational identity. Mobile Media & Communication, 2, 73–93. doi:10.1177/2050157913506007

Transnational mothers working in foreign countries face the challenges of providing “intensive” mothering to their children from a distance, and risk being subject to the “deviancy” discourse of mothering. This paper investigates the role of mobile phone usage, via voice, text messages, and social networking sites, in dealing with the tensions and ambivalence arising from transnational mothering as a dialectical process. We surveyed 42 Filipina and Indonesian foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. FDWs addressed tensions arising out of societal expectations of motherhood and their own anxieties about children’s well-being. The reluctant obsessive struggled to maintain a balance between an intensive nurturing style and a deviant mode of mothering that respected the growing independence of the children. The diverted professional had to balance the financial empowerment of being the primary breadwinner with the risk of surrogate motherhood for the employer’s children subsuming the care provided to her own. The remote-control parent shared mothering responsibilities with caregivers, usually relatives, who acted as a contradictory proxy presence for intensive mothering. The incomplete union of stressed marital parenting put further pressure on the romantic and sexual identities of migrant women. Transnational mothers utilized mobile phones actively as a tool to negotiate and redefine identities and relationships that created fissures in their sense of self. These included the management of third-party relationships, withholding of emotions or information, and engaging in counterintuitive phenomenon such as restricting, or actively dis-engaging from, mobile phone usage as a communication strategy. The paper calls for future research into the multiple, and interacting, social identities assumed and managed by transnational mothers, and the complex role played by mobile phones in the constant process of negotiation by agentic, self-relective and multifaceted women.

Journal Article 2: Sheff, E. (2011). Polyamorous families, same-sex marriage, and the slippery slope. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 40, 487–520. doi:10.1177/0891241611413578

Opponents of same-sex marriage identify multiple-partner families as the pivotal step that, were same-sex marriage legalized, would propel society down a “slippery slope” to relational chaos. Like the families of same-sex partners, polyamorous families—or those with adults in openly conducted multiple-partner relationships—demonstrate alternate forms of kinship not necessarily dependent on conventional biolegal kin, sexual connections, or even chosen kin ties as previously understood. This article extends sociological knowledge by detailing characteristics of relatively unknown family form; comparing original data on polyamorous families with published research on same-sex families instead of heterosexual families, a contrast that decenters heterosexual families as the sole measure of legitimacy while simultaneously expanding knowledge about same-sex families and explaining how polyamorous families’ differences have implications for the same-sex marriage debate and how these shifting social norms implicate changes for the field of family studies and larger society.

Journal Article 3: Coontz, S. (2010). Why American families need the census. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 631, 141–149. doi:10.1177/0002716210373877

This article examines how family researchers use federal statistics, particularly from the U.S. Census, to understand the realities of trends concerning the family unit. The article shows that these data have helped researchers to understand the major, largely irreversible revolution that has taken place in America in the ways that people engage in family formation, make interpersonal commitments, and take on caregiving obligations. In addition, the article makes clear the importance of understanding these changes to make and evaluate policy, such as governmental efforts to promote marriage. The article also shows the usefulness of federal data in allowing researchers to track the development of a new stage of life, termed by some the “age of independence” or “emerging adulthood,” and points to the need to keep fine-tuning, rethinking, and updating the categories that are being measured.