Contemporary theorists of family and kinship emphasize its fluidness. Processes of mating and becoming parents do not have clear rules and people must explicitly define their partner commitments and family arrangements. The authoress explores the ways surnames are employed in the negotiation of kinship and making it obvious. Focusing on women's perspective, she analyzed data downloaded from internet chats where (mostly female) participants discussed family-related topics. Findings confirm the negotiated nature of family relationships and illustrate how social norms are being reinterpreted and accommodated to particular situations. As a result of a number of repartnered families, biological kinship loses its importance in defining close kin relationships, and instead their social and emotional basis is emphasized. The norm of nuclear family sharing a surname is challenged and alternatives are preferred by some women, despite being restricted by less flexible codified norms.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.