Children negotiating their place through space in multi-local, joint physical custody arrangements
This chapter focusses on multi-local families and more specifically on the ways in which children of separated parents, living in joint physical custody arrangements, define and construct their ‘home’ in a context of circular mobility. It is based on two case studies drawn from ongoing fieldwork conducted in Belgium with children aged 10–16 in the context of the ERC Starting Grant project ‘MobileKids’. The main aim is to understand how family relations structure children’s ‘life spaces’ and ‘lived space’ (di Meo, 2012). We explore in particular the meanings and feelings that family relations confer to the space of the ‘house’ in children’s experiences, including both the physicality of the place of residence, and the relations and emotions that children attach to it (Forsberg, Autonen-Vaaraniemi, & Kauko, 2016, p. 435). We also highlight the various strategies that children develop to mediate/influence their family relations through ‘space’, including strategies of spatial appropriation and territorialisation. We conclude by summarising the main findings and considering future developments.
Merla, Laura & Nobels, Bérengère (2019). Children negotiating their place through space in multi-local, joint physical custody arrangement. In: Lesley Murray, Liz McDonnell, Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Nuno Ferreira, Katie Walsh, Families in motion: Ebbing and flowing through space and time, Emerald Publishing, p.79-95