Kinship caring: participatory, arts-based, and oral storytelling to explore the displaying and non-displaying of kinship carers' family practices

Hall, Kim Allison (2022) Kinship caring: participatory, arts-based, and oral storytelling to explore the displaying and non-displaying of kinship carers' family practices. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This study aims to explore kinship carers' stories about their everyday family practices of kinship caring and what enables and constrains displaying these practices to others. The research generates knowledge about how kinship carers make sense of and talk about their families and the tensions and challenges they encounter in 'doing' everyday kinship family. ‘Kinship care’ refers to families bringing up another relative's or friend's child, a practice often seen as an alternative service to non-related foster care. Previous research on kinship care tends to draw on positivist approaches and prioritises a risk and child-protectionist paradigm to compare children's experiences, assess carers' parenting skills, and evaluate children's safety and future life chances. This has contributed to a deficit discourse about kinship family living and kinship carers, in turn, creating a gap in understanding regarding the everyday experiences of alternative ways of family living. With increasingly more children referred to children’s social care in Northeast England and the Kinship Care Parliamentary Taskforce (2020) calling for broader knowledge about kinship care families, it is timely to address this gap by challenging the deficit narrative.

The study draws on feminist post-structural perspectives and uses narrative inquiry to explore kinship carers' everyday lived experiences. Data generation was based on research with twelve adults identifying as 'kinship carers' in arts-based participatory workshops. The kinship carers used a blend of story-generating tools, including songwriting, painting, poetry, photography, and oral storytelling. The storied data were thematically and narratively analysed, drawing on performativity and sociological family studies theories of family practices and family display.

The findings highlight the importance of paying attention to emotionality within the carers' daily family tasks, the emotional work they regularly undertake, and how emotionality enabled and constrained displays and non-displays of family practices. This was evident in many areas, especially pre-kinship caring work, acts of family surveillance, acts of being watched by welfare services, and stories about happiness.

The study concludes that arts-based participatory storytelling can open new ways of seeing and thinking about kinship-caring families. The study counters the deficit view of kinship families and draws attention to the emotional labour underpinning their displays of family. It has also revealed gaps in the current debates, particularly about the intensity and importance of the pre-kinship caring tasks, an area largely missing from kinship caring literature.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: creative methods, sociological family studies, feminist post-structuralist, narrative Inquiry, pre-kinship caring
Subjects: L500 Social Work
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2023 08:54
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2023 09:00

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