Families and Societies Research Unit


The Intergenerational Relations in South Africa project

The Intergenerational Relations in South Africa project, which started at the beginning of 2017, is funded by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development.  The project is about relationships between adult members of families and wider kin groups, especially their significance as sources of practical and financial support. Through a mixed methods approach, the study explores the experiences of different generations and examines how intergenerational relations have changed over recent times. Are families important in shaping the decisions, motivations and attitudes of the younger generation? How does this differ from older generations? What are the effects of changing family structures and roles, consequences of divorce, maternal employment and uncertain employment on intergenerational transfers, interactions and family obligations? The study also investigate how support varies depending on one’s social position.

The study addresses important issues concerning the relationships between different generations in South Africa. Against a backdrop marked by economic and social change, the focus is not only on how people of different generations live together, help each other and depend on one another in their daily lives, but also on how they perceive the social policies that support individuals at different stages of the life course.

Customary Marriage Project

The Customary Marriage project, which is led by the South African Research Chair in Customary Law, Indigenous Values and Human Rights,* Prof. Chuma Himonga, is a socio-legal investigation into the social reality of reformed customary law, more specifically, the operation of the Recognition of the Customary Marriages Act and the Bhe rules of intestate succession. Dr. Moore is collaborating with the Chair on this project. The research examines the divergence between the legislation and rules introduced by the Constitutional Court and their implementation and impact in practice. Dr. Moore assisted the Chair with the organisation of a very successful two-day workshop at UCT in February 2014, which was attended by socio-legal scholars, officials from Home Affairs, traditional leaders, representatives of the National House of Traditional Leaders and the National Movement of Rural Women. Prof. Himonga and Dr. Moore have co-authored a manuscript based on the empirical findings from the study which is currently under review. The book is expected to be published by Juta & Co Ltd in early 2015. A student working on the project, Kirsty Button, received a distinction for her Honours paper: ‘Regulating Marital Conflicts in Xhosa Communities: Is there normative agreement? (For more on this see Button, CSSR Working Paper 339). Other publications stemming from this project focus on the impact of the dissolution of a customary marriage (for more see Moore, CSSR Working Paper 348 and Moore and Himonga, CSSR Working Paper 350). Dr. Moore presented this first listed paper at the Annual ASA Conference in San Francisco.*The Chair is hosted by the University of Cape Town, funded by the DST and administered by the NRF.

Transnational Child Raising Arrangements (TCRA) Project

Organised by Prof. Seekings and Dr. Moore, along with post-doctoral student Stanford Mahati, this study examines child-rearing arrangements among transnational migrants in South Africa. This is a collaborative project with scholars at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The research team participated in a three day meeting in Hyderabad, India in late January, which was organised and attended by members of the larger WOTRO funded programme Migration, Development and Conflict. Stanford Mahati presented a paper at the research meeting. The project has completed data collection and is preparing two papers to present at a three day symposium at Witwatersrand (ACMS) in March 2015 (See Stulgaitis, CSSR Working Paper X).


The new Unit has also supported the research of postgraduate students researching in the field of family life. The new Unit is providing funding for three students at the Masters level and one PhD student. Under the supervision of Dr. Moore, the students have produced several working papers on a range of topics including home birth (see Daniels, CSSR Working Paper No. 340), transnational family laws and policies (Stulgaitis, CSSR Working Paper No. X). In addition, the students have presented their work at various symposia and international conferences including The British Sociological Association Medical Sociology 46th Annual Conference, Aston University, in Birmingham.