International Workshop: The Everyday Life of Multi-Local Families

Families have changed significantly in the past forty years. Economic and social changes have meant that in an increasing number of cases family life no longer happens in one place but is scattered between different locations. These changes involve the increasing necessity of job mobility, a high separation and divorce rate, the normalization of dual-earner families as well as the emergence of new lifestyles.


In consequence the family can no longer be conceived as a well-defined entity living in one household. Various new forms of multi-local family life have emerged, which are characterized by spatial separation and the necessity to commute in order to see each other. Nevertheless, despite the multi-locality of the family, family members look out for each other, provide emotional care for each other from afar, share resources and maintain close social relations. These developments not only raise new research questions but also have serious conceptual and methodological implications for research on family issues.


The Schumpeter Research Group "Multi-local families", funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and hosted by the German Youth Institute (DJI) in Munich, has completed its first qualitative case study on the "Multi-local life of post-separation families in Germany‟. The workshop has used the study as a starting point for a discussion of the Schumpeter Group's research procedures and findings with invited scholars.


The first day of the workshop dealt with conceptual as well as methodological approaches to multi-local everyday family life in order to find new conceptual and methodological approaches to look at family relationships beyond the domestic unit. The management of multi-local family life presents adults as well as children with new challenges. This aspect was dealt with on the second day of the workshop, which is devoted to the example of multi-local family life after separation and divorce.

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