Siblings – Practical and Sensitive Relations
This book is about siblingship as a social and cultural phenomenon in contemporary Denmark. Being a sibling, having siblings and getting siblings are conditions in the lives of most children; actually 90 per cent of all children are registered as having siblings. Despite the prevalence, we have little knowledge of how children perceive being siblings, who they consider as siblings, and what they do or do not do together. Neither do we know much about how this phenomenon is culturally understood.
Do children consider all the children they live with as siblings, even if they do not have parents in common? Can you be more or less real siblings? Can you stop being siblings? Obviously, there are many ways of being a sibling, and sibling relations can change considerably as children grow up. New children may appear – in the shape of newborn babies or children from previous marriages – while other children may be separated by way of divorce or moving out. Sibling configurations vary, as do the experiences of having and getting siblings.
The book is based on the research project “(Ex)Changeable Siblingships” conducted at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University from 2011-2014 and financed by The Egmont Foundation. The project was based on empirical material collected throughout 2011 and 2012. It involved close to 100 children and their parents as well as selected professionals who work with children.