chapter  5
28 Pages

Creating Families Through Cultural Practices

BySuki Ali

Children use narratives that were provided by families in order to develop a sense of 'self', which has the beginnings of genealogical trajectory. Again, this arises from the failure of the current discourses of 'race' and ethnicity, which are based upon collectivities supposedly sharing (racialised) cultural practices. Parents and children are engaged in the construction of family histories, but the ways in which they do this change over time. The concept of 'family traditions' is passed on, but its meaning is flexible and evolving. Families also use secrets to create the desired family unit. The 'family practices' which form the relationships within families show gendered patterns of parenting, with mothers having overwhelming responsibility within the domestic sphere and fathers taking a peripheral yet powerful role, even if only in the imagination. Kinship systems are often barely known and are constructed and maintained despite hardship such as family breakdown and forced movement across space.