New kinships, new family formations and negotiations of intimacy via social media sites

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Abstract

The article investigates how the technology of social media sites facilitates new kinds of intimacy and kinship. It analyses what happens when ‘donor families’ – families with children conceived via sperm donation – connect with each other online. Inspired by Lauren Berlant’s understanding of intimacy as a promise of belonging, the article investigates how new kinship relations facilitate belonging and practices of intimacy. While Berlant uses ‘intimacy’ as a general, normative term, this article explores small, individual and everyday negotiations of – and tensions related to – intimacy in order to illustrate how the narrative of intimacy is experienced and negotiated. Through analysis of and interviews with members of a Facebook group that connects donor families, the article describes the experiences of forming new alternative families and argues that new kinship relations can both lead to new intimacies and be perceived as threats to existing intimacy and nuclear family formations. Finally, the article illustrates how users experience emotions more intensely online than offline, and suggests that the terms traditionally used in relation to intimacy are inadequate for understanding intimacy in a digital era.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Volume26
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)361-371
ISSN0958-9236
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Projects

NewMI: New Media - New Intimacies

Andreassen, R., Raun, T., Shield, A., Christensen-Strynø, M. B., Nebeling Petersen, M. & Harrison, K.

01/02/201515/09/2018

Project: Research

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