‘Deviant’ or the consequence of social evolution? Discourses of intentional ‘multiple parenthood practices’ in the Dutch and the Flemish press

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Nola Cammu

Published Jun 14, 2020


Practices of ‘intentional multiple parenthood’, by which more than two parents agree to conceive and raise children together, have gained increased news coverage in recent years. This paper explores written press articles concerning intentional multiple parenthood in Belgium and the Netherlands. Through a discourse analysis of press articles, the paper challenges the gendered and dyadic concept of parenthood as an understandable given. Newly developed concepts within the ‘traditional’ framework of parenthood are explicitly presented as ‘new’ and ‘revolutionary’ within the public discourse, yet their existence remains dependent on mainstream conceptual usage and the dominant social relations underpinning them. Furthermore, it has been found that press articles on the topic of multiple parenthood frequently use familiar concepts (such as traditional family values of love and commitment) and existing terminology (such as ‘father’, ‘mother’, ‘donor’) to describe the non-mainstream practice of multiple parenthood despite the lack of recognition for this practice in the legal realm.

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