Eric D. Widmer

Widmer, E.D., Viry, G. (2017). Family inclusiveness and spatial dispersion: The spatial consequences of having large and diversified family configurations. Open Journal of Social Sciences. Vol. 5, pp. 350-367.



This article stresses the critical role of family inclusiveness for shaping the spatiality of families. Some individuals have a rather exclusive definition of their family, focusing on partner, children, siblings and parents. Others develop inclusive definitions of family by considering extended kin, step relatives and friends as significant family members. Family inclusiveness is hypothesized to account for a large share of the dispersion of family members throughout space. Data consisted of a stratified sample of 300 mothers of school-aged children living in the cosmopolitan city of Geneva. The results show that spatial dispersion of families increases with the number of family members considered significant. Inclusion of family members beyond the nuclear family of origin is paradoxically associated with a localised family context. Overall, this study emphasises the importance of family inclusiveness as a key dimension for understanding family spatiality in globalized societies.

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