The weakening of kin ties: Exploring the need for life-world led interventions

Gert Schout, Gideon de Jong

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The protective features that families and wider social relationships can have are required to meet the demands of life in contemporary Western societies. Choice and detraditionalization, however; impede this source of solidarity. Family Group Conferencing (FGC) and other life-world led interventions have the potential to strengthen primary groups. This paper explores the need for such a social intervention, using insights from sociological and philosophical theories and empirical findings from a case study of the research project ‘FGC in mental health’. This need is understandable considering the weakening of kin ties, the poor qualities of state agencies to mobilise self-care and informal care, its capacity to produce a shift of power from public to private spheres and its capacity to mitigate the co-isolation of individuals, families and communities. A life-world led intervention like FGC with a specific and modest ambition contributes to small-scale solidarity. This ambition is not inclined to establish a broad social cohesion within society but to restore; in terms of the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk; immunity (protection) and solidarity in primary groups, and consequently, resolve issues with those (family, neighbours, colleagues) who share a sphere (a situation, a process, a fate).
Original languageEnglish
Article number203
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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