Choice and connectedness: explaining divorcees' experiences through kinship and self
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This paper, based on my PhD research, examines the impact of divorce on divorcees' family relationships and the role family plays in divorcees' reconstruction of self-identity. With the individualization of family forms and practices, the maintenance of kin ties and relationships is largely based on personal choice and efforts. While individualization has a strong influence on family relationships and arrangements, individuals are still connected to their family in the way they develop their selfhood through their relationships with them. This paper argues that the development and articulation of individualized and connected selves through divorcees' relationship with their family contribute to their empowerment process. Based on this theme, this paper makes use of empirical evidence gathered through interviews with 20 Singaporean and 20 Australian divorced individuals to examine how divorcees renegotiate their family relationships after divorce and weave a creative network of family support for self-sufficiency. This paper thereby demonstrates the different types of support family provides in helping participants cope with the crisis, redefine their lives and move on to fulfil new goals. Specifically, it also explores the key contribution of kinship in divorcees' development of self and personal narratives, and the empowerment process.