“We Are Three Parents, but Legally Two”: Absent Legality, Present Display

N. Cammu

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© The Author(s) 2020.Parental constellations, by which more than two adults decide to conceive and raise children together, are unrecognized by most jurisdictions. Via in-depth-interviews with 21 parents living in Belgium and the Netherlands, this article explores the legal experiences of parents within intentional plus-two-parent constellations through the methodological framework of “display work” (i.e., families are not only done but also displayed (Finch, 2007)). The parents’ everyday experiences with absent legality were found to be playing out via complex interplays among internal and external levels of display. In addition, researcher’s positions are believed to play a role in how certain forms of display are carried out. Consequently, the concept of display work grants us more insight into the wide array of parents’ experiences with (the lack of) legal framework and its repercussions for everyday life, as well as the parents’ aim to contribute to a broader context of awareness-raising and policymaking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1007-1028
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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