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Families under the microscope: observing interactional processes in family microtransitions

Everri, Marina (2010) Families under the microscope: observing interactional processes in family microtransitions. Doctoral thesis, University of Parma.

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Families change throughout their life course according to both internal changes and transformations that occur in relation to the broader context in which they are connected. In particular, changes of any one family member, dyad, or triad may trigger disequilibration and re-organization of the whole family system (Cowan, 1991). Thus, how do such processes of change occur? Starting from this broad question, I have devised a research project that placed great effort in attempting to address this issue. Family change is at the core of my research interests. This notion has to be intended here in the specific declination of developmental transitions and, more precisely, as micro-transitions which occur in the everyday interactions among family members. I decided to situate the study of microtransitions in a particular moment of family development: adolescence. This choice functioned to provide a better understanding of the processes of change because in this period, several microtransitions are clustered at a given time. Interdisciplinarity is another fundamental characteristic of this research project, and all the disciplines considered share a systemic-constructionist orientation as a common background. In line with this, the main effort of my work was to devise methods consistent with this epistemological background. The structure of the entire research project, itself, is constructionist, in the sense that each of the three studies is built and emerges from the previous one as with “Chinese boxes.” More precisely, the results of one study serve as the starting point for new research questions, which are explored subsequently. We begin with the “biggest box”: Study 1. This study provides the methodological framework of the entire research project. Innovative observational procedures are devised to collect and analyze data; furthermore, the two constructs of oscillation and coordination are operationalized. Six families with at least an adolescent child (13-16 years) participated in this study. Study 2 involved another six families, and it is focused on the observation of emerging patterns of family interaction from the interlocking of oscillation with coordination. Four specific patterns are presented, which account for the different ways in which continuity and change develop during microtransitions. The last study, Study 3, is an attempt to focus the “lens” on the specific forms of sequential interactions family members displayed when talking about ongoing changes. The introduction of a new analytical procedure allowed for the study of the relational aspects of oscillation as the stance-taking process, which accounts for power dynamics displayed in the interaction among family members.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2016 14:10
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 09:29

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