This panel aims to bring together ethnographies that engage with 'non-normative' relationships, cohabitation and family building, in a variety of national and transnational contexts, drawing on feminist or postcolonial theories.
The last few decades have witnessed the emergence and/or increased visibility in the West of relationships of love and care that in some way challenge the norm of the heterosexual, monogamous couple and of the biological, two-parent, nuclear family: alternative ways of organizing relationships and (co)habitation (communes, cohousing, polyamorous relationships, living alone…), of getting children (ART, transnational adoption, open adoption, surrogacy,…) and organizing the care for children or for others (transnational parenting, blended families, single parenthood, co-parenting, foster families, kangaroo housing, psychiatric home nursing…). These new (or not so new) types of relationships of love and care, (co)habitation and building households are surrounded by various discourses, both challenging and reproducing normative assumptions of relationships, family, kinship and (national) belonging. This panel aims to bring together ethnographies that engage with all kinds of 'non-normative' (care) relationships, cohabitation and family building, in a variety of national and transnational contexts, drawing on feminist or postcolonial theories. It invites contributions that investigate the ways utopian imageries (e.g. non-racialism, communitarian ideals, ideals of solidarity, cosmopolitanism, liberal ideals of freedom and choice…), and/or imageries of (biological, genetic, gestational) origins, cultural heritage and national belonging intersect with these every day lived realities and practices. It aims to assess to what extent they succeed to expand definitions of relationships, families, households and communities by exploring the inclusionary potential of these practices and the new exclusions and inequalities they create.