My design challenge

1. What is the problem/question you are trying to solve/explore? Frame it as a design question!

How do the differences between family relationships influence the concept of care?

Family is the space in which we learn to care about other people and in optimal situations are being care for from others. Apart from the abstract idea of a close all-loving family, the reality often looks different and a multiple of imbalances can arise within and across different families. Viewing care as a fundamental good necessary to every human being, different family structures influence the social life of people and create misunderstandings across all the ecosystem. Someone who does not, for whatever reason, have access to care from his “natural” family, has to seek somewhere else, but meets the difficulty to be part of a society in which different types of care are structure and differentiated, i.e. typically hard emotional situations that need a specific type of care are dealt with the family members. Outside of these close circle, misunderstanding arise as why people should care and how to communicate the need for it.

Different family-backgrounds often produce individuals who deal with their emotional life differently. We live in a time where family relationships are being redefined and even though alternative families (single mother, single father, same gender marriages, etc.) are officially being more accepted in the open discourse, the psychological and practical implications are being overlooked. For example, turning your friend or lover into the main care giver—role officially being taken by your parents and/or brother/sisters—still carries social stigmas and difficulties in assessing the fluid role-relationship in play.

2. State the ultimate impact you would like to have. What would make you feel like you did something meaningful with your time?

Re-think the traditional role of the family as a protection-space and care-giver; deconstruct its traditional proposes and definitions and underpin the imbalances, paradoxes, holes in the system. Center care as an extremely important aspect of our lives, a fundamental good which can have a domino-effect on all other aspects of our lives when not dealt with properly. Create a common linguistic understanding of different family backgrounds and correlate them to the psychological and social implications they carry out. Care is a fluid good and can be shared without the traditional format of a family.

3. What are some possible solutions to your problems or ways to answer your question? Think broadly. It’s fine to start a project/learning process with a hunch or two, but make sure you allow for surprises.

The definition of family might be broaden or the caring role and relationship be redefined. At the end, the important aspect is to awaken a conscious thinking about caring and its connection to vital energy, well-being and social possibility with other people. The intimacy by which we hide some aspects of our emotional life must be addressed with the hope a post-traditional exchange system can born out of it.

4. Write down some of the context and constraints that you are facing. They could be geographic, technological, time-based, or have to do with the population yo’re trying to reach.

Initially the question should be limited geographically and anthropologically to the western world. In future, a more global approach could be used.

5. Does your original question need a tweak? Try it again.

How do the differences between family relationships influence the social life and exchange of care between individuals?

DIYing the family?

Hello @Mørbeck, good to meet you.

I am not sure I understand you completely, but you seem to be saying something like: what you call the natural family is the default locus of care. But some people do not have access to that. They have to make their own, so that they can reproduce that locus.

The traditional way to do this was this: you would leave your parents’ house, marry, settle down with your spouse and have children. This produced a “one size fits all” world, with most families were very similar to each other in composition. You seem to be saying that now this is untenable, and families should be (and in part are) allowed to be more diverse, like a Lego construction made of different-looking pieces. A DIY sort of family, heavily customized. Is this broadly correct?

Because if so, you might be interested in my own quasi-familial thing in Brussels. I love my original family very much, but none of them live in the same country as I do!