4 October 2021

Displaying Family at a Women's Refuge

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Sofie Henze-Pedersen, The Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE) and Professor Margaretha Järvinen, Department of Sociology, contributed to the journal The Sociological Review with the article "Displaying family at a women’s refuge".

The article explores the family relationships of mothers and children living at a women’s refuge because of intimate partner violence.

Theoretically, the article contributes to the sociological literature analysing family relationships in terms of ‘doing’ and ‘displaying’ rather than ‘being’ a family. Empirically, it is based on ethnographic fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with children living at a refuge in Denmark.

The article shows that family display at the refuge is conducted by both mothers and children and sometimes in conflicting ways, not least when it comes to the question of how to define the position of the father (who has committed the violence) in the family’s future life. This highlights how display – as an evaluative practice – can be done in different ways in order to protect or reject family relationships, both internally and when addressing external audiences.

Furthermore, the article analyses family relationships in a semi-public setting (the refuge) where powerful audiences are active interpreters of the family display enacted, and participants in decisions concerning the families’ futures.

Read the full article: 

Henze-Pedersen S, Järvinen M. Displaying family at a women’s refuge. The Sociological Review. August 2021. doi:10.1177/00380261211034670