The weakening of kin ties: Exploring the need for life-world led interventions

Document Type

Journal Article




School of Nursing and Midwifery


Originally published as:

Schout, G., & de Jong, G. (2018). The Weakening of Kin Ties: Exploring the Need for Life-World Led Interventions. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(2), 203. doi:10.3390/ijerph15020203

Original article available here.


The protective features that families and wider social relationships can have are required to meet the demands of life in contemporary Western societies. Choice and detraditionalization, however; impede this source of solidarity. Family Group Conferencing (FGC) and other life-world led interventions have the potential to strengthen primary groups. This paper explores the need for such a social intervention, using insights from sociological and philosophical theories and empirical findings from a case study of the research project ‘FGC in mental health’. This need is understandable considering the weakening of kin ties, the poor qualities of state agencies to mobilise self-care and informal care, its capacity to produce a shift of power from public to private spheres and its capacity to mitigate the co-isolation of individuals, families and communities. A life-world led intervention like FGC with a specific and modest ambition contributes to small-scale solidarity. This ambition is not inclined to establish a broad social cohesion within society but to restore; in terms of the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk; immunity (protection) and solidarity in primary groups, and consequently, resolve issues with those (family, neighbours, colleagues) who share a sphere (a situation, a process, a fate).



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