20 Feb 2012 5:00pm - 6:00pm Centre for Family Research, Room 606


Dr Cathy Herbrand (

F.R.S.-FNRS Postdoctoral Researcher, Université libre de Bruxelles, Visiting Fellow at King’s College London)  

Within the framework of gay and lesbian families, a coparenting project can be defined as a parental arrangement between a man and a woman, who are not a couple but nevertheless decide to have a child together and to raise him separately, most likely with their own same-sex partner. Such a pattern creates very diverse and innovative forms of multi-parental families which challenge the dominant nuclear family model. It also represents an unusual form of very reflexive and private parental project that fits particularly well with current social constraints. Yet, coparenting also goes along with the valuation and reinforcement of essentialist kinship and parental role representations. Indeed, the coparents’ choice is motivated by a desire to uphold values such as the biological link and the reference to the mother and the father figures.


After providing a detailed account of the different meanings attributed by coparents to kinship and gendered parental roles, I will point out how such views are used to justify the existing differences and inequalities between father and mother with regard to the child. More generally, this talk will contribute to understand how continuities remain through norms and representations, despite the many innovative and non-conventional features of these families.



Open to all.  No registration required.

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