Complex Families Of Affinity
: Non-normative Kinship In LBT Migrant And Second-generation People In The UK

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis explores a case study of LBT migrants and second-generation British kinship group, including my own lived experience of the group, and an exploration of photography as a practice which can help reflect on lived experience, identity and reimagining kinship in order to resist dominant heteronormative discourses. In the UK, where marriage and civil partnership are the only legal forms of kinship, research investigating non-normative forms of kinship amongst LBT migrants and SGB people counters erasures of these experiences and enriches the available landscape of kinship.

I offer a new conceptualisation of non-normative kinship: complex families of affinity which complicate the notion of choice as a founding experience in LBT queer kinship circles. It expands notions of kinship in migrant and second-generation people by introducing kinship roles from other geolocations beyond the Anglo-American family models which confine family to a certain structure. Notions of choice as a founding experience in LBT queer kinship circles are complicated by considering circumstantial encounters, sensory recognition, and social positioning. The aim of the project is thus to explore these ideas of kinship collaboratively with the participants to understand where the limitations lie, what possibilities arise in non-normative kinship practices, and how these can be supported.

The queer decolonial and arts-based methodology enables me to reflect on and counter western ontological and epistemological frameworks. Queer decolonial perspectives question the system of classification and representation based on dualisms and hierarchical orderings and offer a relational understanding of knowing. An arts-based methodology based on embodied knowledge of self and interactions with others offers an experiential and embodied approach to data collection through methods such as kinship mapping, a queer family album production and photographic re-enactments.
Date of AwardOct 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorAlice Fox (Supervisor), Kath Browne (Supervisor) & Olu Jenzen (Supervisor)

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