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Free Content Relational autonomy: kinship and daughters-in-law negotiating affinity with their mothers-in-law

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Research on mother- and daughter-in-law relationships has primarily focused on the conflict between the two. This article highlights the empowering potential of daughters-in-law of this problematic relationship by examining the struggle of Filipino seafarers' wives to exercise agency and achieve autonomy in the context of living with their mothers-in-law. Drawing on in-depth semi-structured interviews, it analyses the women's project for autonomy within kinship, that is, an autonomy deeply embedded in intersubjective relations through the conceptualisation of kinship as 'cultures of relatedness', which explicitly attends to the negative aspects of kinship. Three dimensions of their experiences are discussed: breaking their silence/talking back; becoming their husband's designated recipient of their remittances; and having their own house. Their experiences demonstrate the importance of retaining normativity in the conceptualisation of kinship as relatedness.

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Keywords: AFFINITY; AUTONOMY; HOUSE; ILOCOS; KINSHIP; MALE EMIGRATION; MOTHER-/DAUGHTER-IN-LAW RELATIONSHIP; PHILIPPINES; RELATEDNESS; VOICE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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