Research projects

Familites in transition, transition in Families (FiTTiF)This project represents a research agreement between the UA and on the onther hand IWT. UA provides IWT research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

SHARE project: The collection of Share-life data (Wave 3)

The role of personality in family formation and dissolution: Processes leading to family formation and dissolution have been studied extensively in the sociology of the family. Time related elements like parental divorce or cohort and personal characteristics like educational level or values are repeatedly identified as influential components in family dynamics. Even though psychological research has shown that psychological variables play a role too, they have hardly been introduced in family sociological or demographical studies on family dynamics. This project identifies personality as a component in the explanation of family formation and dissolution. The project aims to innovate the field in several ways. First, personality – measured by the Big Five Inventory – is introduced as an explanatory component in our longitudinal models. Second, the multi-actor structure of the Divorce in Flanders data is used to look at the personality of both partners and the way in which their match as a couple influences family dynamics afterwards. Third, we study both initial and higher order relationships. Due to the high prevalence of divorce, newly constellated families are a new reality that ought to be studied separately. Family processes in higher order families are not the same and we also expect personality to have a different role in this new reality.

Families in Transition: The influence of a trans parent on the general well-being of the child 

Careers The Center for Career Research (Centre for Career Research, CCR) focuses on the study of transitions in the labor market, with particular attention to the transition from work to work, the analysis of search behavior in transitions and the conditions for success of reorientation in working careers. The CCR also get the research into the (determinants of early) exit from and re-entry into the labor career with 50-plus special attention. The implications for policy instruments, for example, the transition from job- to career security and the extension of active life enjoying plenty of attention in the CCR. 

Family Transitions and Migration: Migrant populations are no longer an off-beat phenomenon and the number of immigrants in most European countries has increased substantially during the last fifty years. Family dynamics among this growing group of migrants have not been studied to the same extent they have been studied among the majority population. This project examines the particular role of socio-economic and ethnic characteristics in explaining two main aspects of family dynamics among migrant populations in Belgium: family formation and family dissolution.

Improving Care and Research Electronic Data Trust Antwerp (ICAREDATA): This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

EU guidelines for the establisment of national focal points for the comprehensive integrated medical support of THB victims: National referral systems for THB victims exist, but are mostly missing a health component. The health professionals who encounter the victim lack necessary information about how and where to refer a trafficked person and what are the existing services available in a given country. The health professionals are per definition responsible for the weil being of the person and when facing a trafficked victim should decide quickly on the next step. This project focuses on the development of guidelines, made through a consensus method by international experts on THB, for the establishment of national focal points that include health care experts, working together with law enforcement agencies and NGO's. Involvement of the university in this project is aimed at developing guidelines through a research method (consensus Delphi Survey technique). With the focus set on the health care, more victims will be detected and more information will become available for the purpose of juridical proceedings leading to an increased number of convictions.

Multi-parenthood, kinship terminology and the role of law: a critical analysis: This project aims to study the construction processes of terminology on new kinship formations, in the triangular interaction between social practice, public perception and the law, which affects the legal regulation of kinship. The project will focus on multi-parenthood, given its prominence on the policy agenda worldwide. Multi-parenthood is the condition where more than two parents are linked with a same child biologically, socially, intentionally and/or legally at the same time, e.g. joint parental projects of lesbians and gays or Three Person IVF. We do not have the words to address or refer to persons involved in multi-parenthood, which impedes it to develop in social practice, public perception and law. The project sets out to explore the gaps that now exist in the above-mentioned triangular interaction, in order to tackle the issue of what strategies the legislature could/should adopt to develop a truly accommodating legal framework. Overcoming the current dyadic and sexualised approach to parenthood in that context, will also enable developing new kinship studies in general. Through a law-in-context approach ('civilology'), this project will draw on an interdisciplinary methodological framework. Legal research methods will be combined with regulatory theory and different social science methods for secondary and primary data collection and analysis. The project will be the first to systematically and interdisciplinary address kinship terminology from a perspective of new kinship studies and to propose a legislative strategy towards the recognition of multi-parenthood. The project is divided into six Work Packages, which feasibility is guaranteed because they are embedded in current projects of the promoters' research group. WP1 encompasses a descriptive analysis of theories on kinship vocabulary and/in legal language and on new kinship formations, particularly multi-parenthood. WP2 will be spent on secondary data analysis and on the study of kinship vocabulary in social practices and public perception. WP3 aims at primary data collection and mining. WP4 will encompass a literature review on regulatory theory, particularly the performative effects of legal labelling. WP5 will provide a comparative law analysis of the possible strategies for the legal recognition of multi-parenthood. WP6 will allow integrating the results of WP1-5 and to critically analyse the triangular interplay between social practices, public perception, and legal recognition.

Beyond coupledom: the regulatory dilemmas and policy challenges of singleness, polyamory and non-sexual households. This project addresses the question of how the state should deal with family formations that do not conform to the dominant matrix of the loving couple, and in particular how it should take up the challenges and difficulties these formations raise for law and public policy. It will focus on singleness, polyamory and non-sexual households in Belgium, Italy and the UK. The project will draw on diverse research sources: normative and regulatory theory, social science data, doctrinal analysis and focus groups. In correlation with the findings of my first three years as a FWO Pegasus MC Fellow, this study will provide a lens and case-study through which a core question for contemporary public policy is addressed: what legal and public policy instruments could and should the state adopt to deal with sexual and socio-cultural difference? The research will be conducted in four Work Packages. WP1 will offer a robust literature review to provide the appropriate foundation for the other WPs. WP2 will draw on a good wealth of ethnographic findings to provide a portrayal of the everyday experience of singles and individuals involved in polyamourous and non-sexual households. WP3 will engage in close textual analysis of a range of media representations published in the last 5 years. WP4 will delve into the question of the regulatory role of the state vis-à-vis citizens' autonomy in the construction and governance of their relationships.

RETHINKIN – Rethinking legal kinship and family studies in the Low CountriesThis is a fundamental research project financed by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The project was subsidized after selection by the FWO-expert panel. RETHINKIN steers the scientific redefinition of family law in the Low Countries and aims at taking up an international leading role from there. Redefining family law is necessary due to societal evolutions that have undermined the fundaments of traditional family law. RETHINKIN aims at pioneering in legal research in the Low Countries by redefining family law in a constant dialogue with other scien-tific disciplines (intra- and interdisciplinary research) and with civil society (transdisciplinary). Three research questions underlie the activities of RETHINKIN: 1. Which is the competence of the State, both in substantive and procedural law, to regulate the family as actor besides the market and social security ? 2. What should be the content of State intervention, from the perspectives of citizenship, police power and the parens patriae-doctrine? 3. How can law and policy be better tuned to social practices and perceptions ? RETHINKIN currently joins the entire Flemish academic research into family law with the Dutch Al-liantie Familie & Recht (Alliance Family and Law – ACFL, NIG en UCERF) as "Low Countries". RETHINKIN will first draw a Roadmap for Kinship & Family Studies in the Low Countries and develop its further scientific activities from there, towards applications under the EU Framework Programmes for Scientific Research and Innovation. A continuous dialogue with an international multi- and trans-disciplinary panel will allow opening the current research landscape so as to cultivate new areas in alliance with other disciplines.