Petteri Eerola (University of Tampere | UTA · School of Social Sciences and Humanities)
21 March 2019 @ 14:00 - 15:30
- Past event
“Ordinary” and “Diverse” Families? Two Discourses on Family by Finnish Childcare Administrators
The diversification of families in which children live has been argued to be a major global trend. For example, taking Finland as an example of a western society, children live in various family configurations, including LGBTIQ-parent families, single-parent families, adoption families and foster families, to mention just a few, in addition to families comprising two parents of different genders and their biological children. In addition, increased immigration has enhanced the diversity of Finnish family forms over the last two decades. Despite this diversity, it has been argued that Finnish family and childcare policies continue to be mainly targeted to native Finnish two-parent families (with different-gender parents) in which the mother has the role of primary caregiver. To address these issues, in this talk I discuss how childcare administrators discursively construct ‘family’ in their accounts. The data, which comprise qualitative interviews with municipal childcare administrators (n=47) conducted in ten municipalities across Finland in 2016, are analyzed by applying a discourse analytic framework. I argue that while the diversity of the family forms children live in is recognized, two-hetero-parent native Finn families with biological children are often assumed when administrators are speaking about family. This could pose major threats to the equality of children living in divergent family forms and thus needs to be taken seriously. The study is part of the multidisciplinary research project Finnish Childcare Policies: In /equality in Focus (CHILDCARE) supported by the Finnish Strategic Research Council, Academy of Finland.