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No 18 - 2013

Work-Family Focus: Through the Lens of Professional Groups
Directed by Bernard Fusulier, Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay

Professional Affiliation and Family Life: A Particular Analytic Entry
Bernard Fusulier, Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay

There are many studies showing that the work-family relationship varies according to the societies that harbour them; that it takes different forms according to gender and personal situations; and that it depends on the characteristics and attitudes of business and organizations…. There is, however, another dimension that affects the linkage between the two entities, one which has been little studied: membership of an occupational group or of a profession. Such membership is the indication of the existence of a social entity that has a certain number of inherent characteristics and that potentially is not devoid of influence on the manner in which linkage is established between the member’s professional and family life. In this introductory article we first discuss the interest and specifics of such data input. Subsequently, we indicate the major characteristics of the articles that make up the present issue of this magazine, articles that deal with a range of occupational and professional groups: teachers, social workers, train conductors, physicians, nurses, and police officers.

Keywords: family, work, profession, occupation, employment, gender

Management of the Work-Family Interface. Why Are the Practices of French and Spanish Teachers Different?
Julie Jarty

This paper proposes a reflection on the differentiation of how the linkage between work and life is experienced among French and Spanish secondary school teachers, through the analysis of the occupational group structure and its professional ethos. Enriched with life narratives, this paper focuses on two ways of being a teacher, with very different consequences in terms of time management and gender relations. In France, temporal autonomy is based on a “professional culture » that favours quality-based individual career paths. This is a standard that promotes a limited presence of teachers within educational establishments, for women in particular, thus facilitating (female) family-centred time management. In Spain, the boosting of the multipurpose teacher, whose roles include that of a vector of knowledge and culture, an educator and an administrator, promotes team work and longer schedules within the workplace. The consequence of such demands is often the working out of innovative gender and family arrangements, more specifically if one is looking for career advancement.

Keywords: work/family linkage, work gender division, France, Spain, teacher

Social Timeframe Linkage in the Profession of Social Worker: A Question of Subjective Commitment
David Laloy

In Belgium, social workers usually work standard hours that match up with macro-social time frames. They should, therefore, be in a position to link up their social lives in a harmonious way. However, combining work and family has both practical and subjective dimensions. This second dimension appears to be particularly at stake as concerns social workers because their professional activities imply the individual’s strong subjective commitment. The article’s objective is to analyze the specifics of their professional commitment (the “nature of the work” and the “forms of representation” associated with this particular professional practice) and to bring to light their implications as regards its linkage with the social time frame.

Mots-clés: Belgium, social assistant, subjective commitment, the nature of work, social time frame linkage

Family-Work Linkage in Terms of Professional Group and Gender: The Example of Female Train Drivers in France
Estelle Bonnet, Bruno Milly, Élise Verley

How do female train conductors in France deal with the merging of work and family life as it affects the professional group perspective? Occupational standards, along with a weak regulation structure prevent these women from asking for flexible work schedules that take into account their family constraints. However current feminization policies introduced into this male-dominated profession seem to be challenging traditional standards. New female train conductors do not request specific work arrangements, but they raise the issue of the linkage between work and family life, which has been until recently—if not a taboo—a major occupational constraint to be dealt with only by professionals.

Mots-clés: work/family linkage, professional group, standard, regulation, feminization

Analysis of the Articulation of Life Times Within the Medical Profession in France: Revealing or Magnifying Mirror of Sexual Specificities?
Nicky Le Feuvre, Nathalie Lapeyre

This article explores some of the analytical issues that arise when researching the use of time with respect to the work-life balance sought by a specific occupational group: French doctors. Characterized by extremely long hours, the French medical profession also offers a high level of “temporal sovereignty”. Although the professional ethos of doctors has been historically based on a principal of “total availability” for work, several factors have led to the partial erosion of this cornerstone of the doctor’s professional identity, particularly amongst the younger generations of both male and female physicians. However, from a gender perspective, this shift is not necessarily expressed in the same way: the female doctors interviewed tended to spontaneously evoke their desire to enjoy a better “balance” between work and family life, whereas the male doctors were more likely to stress their quest for personal well-being, through individual leisure time. It remains to be seen whether such a discursive gap does indeed bear witness to the existence of distinct gender-influenced practices or whether they simply translate an adjustment of the way doctors adapt their accounts of time use to the normative pressures that continue to define the social acceptability of male and female practices (and aspirations) with regard to a balance between work and life.

Mots-clés: France, gender, medical profession, time management, work

Professional Belonging and Work-Family Balance. Comparison of Two Occupational Groups: Nurses and Police Officers
Bernard Fusulier, Émilie Sanchez, Magali Ballatore

This paper investigates the relationship between working life and family life by privileging an entry by the occupational/professional group in order to highlight the influence of occupational/professional norms on how to live and manage this relationship and the underlying tensions. Drawn on a questionnaire survey in French-speaking Belgium concerning 314 nurses-parents and 284 police officers-parents, the research results obviously show the role of gender, but also some interesting differences between the two occupations where feelings and mitigation modes of tensions between work and family are different. In conclusion, authors suggest to conceptualize the differences observed as two contrasted models: on the one hand, a sequential model in the nursing environment; on the other hand, an integrative model in the police.

Mots-clés: family, work, gender, police officers, nurses

Domestic Violence in the Family Space: What Should We Do with the Children? Professional Practices at the Crossroads of Child Protection and Domestic Violence
Marie-Laure Déroff, Émilie Potin

In France, the exposure of children to conjugal violence has recently become a concern as regards the struggle against violence to women. This realization awakens one to the need for coordinated action that takes into account both conjugal violence and child protection. Research carried out amongst those concerned has led to a better understanding both of the related practices and their identification. For example, different images of the child have been identified that portray both the position held by the child within the framework of social treatment of conjugal violence, and the way exposure to conjugal violence is viewed under the terms of measures that are essentially child oriented: symptom child, benchmark child, intermediary child. Professional are also guided in their actions by their identification of child risks. These are risks specifically associated with exposure to conjugal violence, risks that, if liable to be increased within such context, are more widely linked to conjugal separation.

Keywords: conjugal violence, child protection, risk of danger, evaluation, social action

Collaborative Practices: New Fetishism or Renewed "Praxis" in the Field of Children's Mental Health? The Need for a Halt in the Moment of the Senses
Lena Diamé Ndiaye, Myreille St-Onge

This article offers a re-reading of collaborative practices as a new approach to recognizing the concept of « being together and working together » in the field of children’s mental health. Our objective is theoretical, not empirical, and our main objective is to spark reflective thinking with respect to collaborative practices, beginning with social services as a discipline based on egalitarian exchange, i.e. providing leverage for joint action by the professions at the child’s bedside. We are also suggesting a pause that will allow us dispense with current dogma and review these concepts as child-centered collaborative practices. The article contains four subdivisions, each one with different objectives. Initially we will be looking at children’s mental health as a field to be defined within a theoretical area and offering essentially collaborative practice. The second subdivision has allowed us to explore a new semantic approach to the concepts of collaboration and partnership. The third part presents the social service as an interface in the issue of child-centered collaborative practices. The fourth part illustrates collaborative work by structuring the framework of procedural practice within the field of children’s mental health.

Mots-clés: collaboration, social services, collaborative practices, social networks, mental health, children