Stepfamilies among Brazilian Low-income Classes: Relationships and Roles

By Felipe Watarai and Geraldo Romanelli.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study aims at analyzing how stepfamily children, from a former marriage of the mother, living with her and her present husband, experience family relationships: with the mother, her husband, and their relatives; with the father and his relatives, in some cases, including the ones from another marriage of his; and with blood, half and stepsiblings. Teenagers from ten stepfamilies of low-income classes of Ribeirão Preto/Brazil were interviewed for this study. The data analysis was developed through the standpoint of Psychology and Anthropology. The results indicate that the family relationships, despite being strongly marked by blood ties, are also constructed in the daily living together of the family members. This blending of representations of blood and non-blood ties becomes more evident in the descriptions of the relationship with the stepfather. Even if the stepfather does not fulfill the traditional role of the biological father, especially about participating in the socialization of children, his relationship with the stepchildren is considered important by them. On the other hand, this relationship tends to be more distant when the marriage of the stepfather and the mother is more recent. This research has been financed by CNPq/Brazil.

Keywords: Stepfamilies, Kinship, Socialization, Brazilian Families, Low-income Classes

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 7, pp.235-246. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.152MB).

Felipe Watarai

Doctorate Student, Departamento de Psicologia e Educação / Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil

Graduated (2002), and master’s (2006) in Psychology from Universidade de São Paulo. Presently, doctorate student in the same institution. Has experience in Psychology and Social Sciences, focusing on Social Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology, investigating the following subjects: violence, working teenagers, school, socialization, low-income classes, stepfamilies, and kinship.

Dr. Geraldo Romanelli

Professor, Departamento de Psicologia e Educação / Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil


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