Doing Family at the Crossroads of Organizations and Private Lives – Thursday, September 23rd – 9:15

Doing Family at the Crossroads of Organizations and Private Lives – Jurczyk, Karin / Thiessen, Barbara / Rerrich, Maria S. (Munich, Landshut/GER)

During lockdowns due to the Corona pandemic, families were left on their own overnight. For some time, organizational structures of childcare institutions, educational facilities, the labor market, leisure and cultural activities and more were no longer available. As a result, it became more obvious that the family is not a separate entity but is linked to contextual structures in a specific way. Legal and welfare state arrangements, labor market needs, requirements and services of educational institutions as well as the offers of social work frame the everyday lives of families. By the same token, individual practices of doing family influence organizational structures and institutions. The interconnections between organizations and doing family have yet to be examined systematically. For social work in particular, it is important to know more about this interface. Research up to the present has had two different focal points. On the one hand, some studies discuss concepts in organizations about what families are and how they are (or should be) supported, influenced or treated, and who should be the subject(s) of attention in connection with families. These often go hand in hand with implicit assumptions about a ‘good’ family, a ‘good’ mother or a ‘good’ father. On the other hand, there is increasing knowledge – more on a conceptual than on an empirical level-about how family members do (or undo) family and on the meaning and goals of doing family. Here the concept of doing and undoing family stands out (Jurczyk 2020). The two strands of research have rarely had a common line of inquiry. What do we know about the interconnection of organizations and doing family? (How) do the two fit together? Are they at cross purposes or do they coexist peacefully and learn from each other? Is there any explicit knowledge about the intermingling of the public and the private? Is the weak status of families as a private affair opposed to organizational interests relevant for how families are supported or challenged? Our paper focuses on theoretical and empirical research that examines the interaction between family actors and organizational actors. We will illustrate our findings using examples mainly from the field of early prevention.