Motives and Practices of Foster Parents (an Analysis of Narratives)
Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof. National Research University Higher School of Economics, Saint-Petersburg, Russia firstname.lastname@example.org
Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., National Research University Higher School of Economics, Saint-Petersburg, Russia email@example.com
PhD (Sociol.), Manager of Program “Family and Children”, Elena & Gennagy Timchenko Foundation, Saint-Petersburg, Russia firstname.lastname@example.org
The article deals with the analysis of foster parents discursive practices of family making. The approach to family as a discourse is used for the theoretical conceptualization of parental narratives about fostering. Foster parenthood is understood as a discursive construction, which contains normative beliefs about fostering, motives for decision about fostering, and descriptions of foster care practices. The empirical base of the research consists of texts of 469 diaries of foster parents, collected within the all-Russian competition of foster families diaries “Our stories” (Elena & Gennagy Timchenko Foundation, 2015–2017). The biographical narratives were analyzed in two levels: 1) normative commonly shared beliefs about family and fostering; 2) individual strategies of narrative identity construction. As the result of analysis three main meaningful elements of parental individual narratives were found: 1) discourses about what is foster parenting; 2) justification strategies of decisions about foster parenting; 3) descriptions of family making practices. The general outcome of the article is the conclusion that family making is performed on the level of individual believes about what family and parenting are. The specific history of family relations and interactions between family members influences the family making process. All these individual discursive practices are inscribed in a broad socio-cultural context of normative beliefs.