BSA, Auto/biography Study Group Summer Conference 2021, Troubling Auto/biography - Estranged: troubling ‘family’ relationships.

  • LEWIS, C. (Speaker)
  • Julie Parsons (Speaker)
  • Carly Stewart (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


    Morgan (1996) makes a clear and important distinction between the families ‘we live with’ (reality) and the families ‘we live by’ (ideology). In this paper we will be exploring the implications of choosing to never ‘live with’ family members again, in terms of the act of becoming estranged or the processes and cycles of estrangement. We will draw on our own auto/biographical reflections and lived experience of estrangement(s), including the catalysts or epiphanies that lead to the ultimate severing of family relations and the significance of supportive witnesses to these decision-making processes. We will also examine the lack of narratives around estrangement and the difficulties in knowing how to respond, how to act and how to be in a social world that places a high value on close family ties. There is an apprehension and apologetic focus in the telling of these stories as they unsettle wider family narratives of kinship and belonging. The social significance of family occasions and events are heightened by an absent present, it is not just an embodied missing, but a material missing in terms of birthdays, Christmases and other markers of familial belonging. Becoming estranged therefore signifies loss, but also failure, as the estranged fail to maintain family relations. These failures or losses are tempered with feelings of guilt, blame, shame, grief, as well as release, relief and on occasion euphoria. Estrangement therefore troubles the lived reality of family relations and is troubled by family ideology which demands harmonious, supportive and enduring family ties.
    Period15 Jul 202116 Jul 2021
    Event titleBSA, Auto/biography Study Group Summer Conference 2021 : Troubling Auto/Biography
    Event typeConference