New group to research family life in Bavaria

January 18, 2024

| © IMAGO / photothek / Ute Grabowsky The new Bavarian research association “Family Life in Bavaria – Empirical Insights into Transformations, Resources and Negotiations (ForFamily)” started work in January 2024. Its co-spokespersons are Paula-Irene Villa Braslavsky, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at LMU, and Rita Braches-Chyrek, Professor of Social Pedagogy at the University of Bamberg. “In recent years, family life has grown more complex, more diverse and more individually variable,” Villa Braslavsky says. The aim of the ForFamily research group is to study this transition empirically and come up with proposals for political action. In recent years, family life has grown more complex, more diverse and more individually variable Paula-Irene Villa Braslavsky, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at LMUInterdisciplinary research into family life To this end, selected aspects of family life past and present will be studied in Bavaria at the University of Bamberg, the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), LMU, TUM, Munich University of Applied Sciences, Landshut University of Applied Sciences and two non-university research institutions (the German Youth Institute (DJI) and the State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg).

The new ForFamily research network

will provide empirical insights into the everyday lives of families and the challenges they face. | © IMAGO / photothek / Ute Grabowsky

The new Bavarian research association “Family Life in Bavaria – Empirical Insights into Transformations, Resources and Negotiations (ForFamily)” started work in January 2024. Its co-spokespersons are Paula-Irene Villa Braslavsky, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at LMU, and Rita Braches-Chyrek, Professor of Social Pedagogy at the University of Bamberg. The group has a four-year term and has received funding totaling 3.6 million euros from the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts.

“In recent years, family life has grown more complex, more diverse and more individually variable,” Villa Braslavsky says. At the same time, she notes that family structures are very stable and have developed a life of their own that itself impacts on society. The aim of the ForFamily research group is to study this transition empirically and come up with proposals for political action.

In recent years, family life has grown more complex, more diverse and more individually variable
Paula-Irene Villa Braslavsky, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at LMU

Interdisciplinary research into family life

To this end, selected aspects of family life past and present will be studied in Bavaria at the University of Bamberg, the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), LMU, TUM, Munich University of Applied Sciences, Landshut University of Applied Sciences and two non-university research institutions (the German Youth Institute (DJI) and the State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg). A total of ten subprojects will address sociological and cultural science disciplines.

The group will study societal change and how it interacts with families. It will explore the structural frameworks surrounding families and examine the various resources to which families have recourse. Another focus will be on analyzing processes of negotiation within family settings. Special emphasis will be placed on multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration: “Families are multi-dimensional entities,” Villa Braslavsky says. “So, to study them properly we need as many different methods and the perspectives of as many disciplines as possible.”

Three new projects on family life at LMU

Three of the group’s total of ten subprojects are based at LMU. These subprojects will investigate aspects of family law, how families are depicted in media and new forms of families.

Anatol Dutta, Chair of Private Law, Private International Law and Comparative Law, will head the project “Family Law in a Pluralistic Society”. This project seeks to critically review existing legal provisions in light of new forms of family life and multicultural family backgrounds.

Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati Chair of Religious Studies and Religious History at the Faculty of Protestant Theology, will study the “Family in Films”. This project is designed to show how the depiction of families in media reflects and shapes social beliefs.

Sociologist Villa Braslavsky will lead the third LMU-based project on “Transformations of the Normal? ‘Doing Family’ in Post-Traditional Family Constellations”. This project will examine forms of co-parenting where families define themselves by how child-rearing tasks are shared rather than on the basis of romantic ideas about partnership.