Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Participation in conference
Paper presentation "Emotional Contracts and the Boundaries of Love"
This paper offers an overview of a research project that examines what I term, the 'emotional contract' that takes place outside the boundaries of traditional family structures. It explores the motivations to maintain and nurture loving relationships with children of ex-partners in the absence of biological ties, legal commitments, financial obligations or societal expectations. The methodology is a series of ongoing conversations with lesbians which explore the concept of love outside the constraints of hetronormativity. The paper examines theoretical understandings of family; of intimate relationships, emotional bonds and the nature of dependence and interdependence in a changing socio economic and legislative climate. It argues that being defined as "families" confers a source of power not only in benefits from social, legal and economic policies but also in the hierarchy of social capital. There have been significant shifts in legislative frameworks. Yet, court decisions have been contradictory with some rulings recognizing "alternative families" while others reassert biological claims. Law emphasises rights and responsibilities. The focus in this paper is on understanding love and how it shapes us - the forming and maintaining of emotional contracts on the margins, the performance of love outside conventional boundaries.