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No 15 - 2011

The Family, a Social Issue
Directed by Françoise-Romaine Ouellette

The Family Issue and Family Redefinitions
Françoise-Romaine Ouellette

This introductory article underlines the conceptual and normative redefinitions of the family that are related to critical changes of this institution and to new family configurations. From this perspective, links are traced between the various articles published in this issue of Enfances, Familles, Générations. From different angles, they all refer to aspects of social reproduction accomplished through essential family functions (procreation, caring, education, socialisation…) that are also a concern for the State and many other social actors in civil society. Various topics are being discussed: the sociology of the family, the social movement for a family policy, homoparental families, medicallyassisted procreation, the concept of family income, the legal framework for marital and de facto conjugal unions, the attraction of new families in rural areas.

Keywords: family, social construction, same-sex families, conjugal union

"Sociologist, Tell Me About Family!" 30 Years of French Sociology of the Family
Michel Messu

Family sociology, more especially in France, tends to admit two types of paradigm to explain the family fact. One grants social institutions, and particularly the State, a diriment role. The other considers that the establishment of the family fact is a matter for the autonomous individual. We suggest regarding the family fact as the product of multifactorial dynamics. This leads us to favour a sociological approach that attributes the key role to the operations of deconstruction/reconstruction of the family fact, taking into account the model of the social world in which it takes place.

Keywords: family, social state, individual, social paradigme, dynamic multifactor

The Demand for Family Policy: A Quebec Movement Forged in the Crucible of the Quiet Revolution, 1960-1990
Denise Lemieux

A Quebec movement advocating family policies was created in the Sixties by family groups and social workers in private agencies whose activities were undermined by the creation of public welfare and educational systems. This paper presents the associations and interest groups involved, together with the political contexts that facilitated the emergence of a joint contestation movement; it traces the transformation of this movement over three decades and the realization of some of its objectives. This historical analysis is based on documents from 17 federations of associations among those involved in this movement and on public documents from institutions and groups interacting with them, in particular the consultative councils created in the Quebec government departments responsible for family matters.

Mots-clés: movement, interest groups, family voluntary groups, family councils, participatory governance

The Homoparental Family in France: a Quiet Revolution?
Anne Cadoret

For some forty years, we have seen that the way to become parents has changed; besides the “classical family”, i.e. a heterosexual married couple and their children, there are now a number of different family configurations, the most recent being that of homoparental families. However, although the latter constitute a new part of the evolutionary chain, they mark a major change, inasmuch as these parents cannot present themselves as their children’s genitors. What questions are raised by both the continuity and the change involved? These families are looking for recognition; and why, though it is granted by some countries, is it so difficult to receive it in France?

Mots-clés: same-sex families, family configuration, family reference model, symbolic order (of gender), heteronormativity

Family Project, Infertility and Desire for Children: Uses and Experiences of Medically Assisted Procreation in a Quebec Context
Doris Chateauneuf

Most couples seeking to overcome infertility problems look to reproductive medicine as the highest authority in matters of assisted procreation and pregnancy. The value accorded to children both by society and the family itself affects how couples deal with infertility and influences how they look at new reproductive technologies. This article outlines the results of a study of the relationships between doctors and infertile couples who are their patients. It reveals the content of their discussions concerning artificial reproduction as well as the nature of the current debates and questions concerning the development of assistive reproductive technologies and the growth in their availability.

Mots-clés: child, assisted procreation, infertility, family, reproduction

The Family Income, a Vague and Insidious Concept: A Critical and Historical Analysis of Family Economic Relations
Hélène Belleau, Raphaëlle Proulx

Economic relationships between parents and children and between spouses have changed radically over the past century. Economic changes (urbanization, financial crises, wars, etc.), plus a number of laws and social measures, have significantly affected the links of mutual dependence within households to the point where the direction of the monetary flows have been inverted. Focussing specifically on the Quebec context, the article will attempt to identify the linchpins of these changes by looking at the links between young people and their parents and between the latter and the social issues they raise.

Mots-clés: family income, money, couple, family management, public policy

Common-Law Unions, the Roman Marriage and the Christian Marriage
Benoît Laplante

In Quebec, civil union is a disposition that provides a legal framework for a conjugal relationship, the essential elements of which are implicit within the text of the Civil Code of Québec. The common-law Canadian provinces, on the other hand, cover this alternative to marriage explicitly, in laws directed at « domestic » or family relations. In France, the Civil Solidarity Pact and even concubinage are covered by the Civil Code. The Quebec approach is an original one. We will be explain it by demonstrating that civil union, as it currently exists in Quebec law, is very similar to marriage as it was practised in Roman law in classical times. Our analysis leads us to suggest that Quebec has reinvented or rediscovered the Roman marriage of the classical epoch, via the civil union as practised in this province. It also allows us to suggest that the « Quebec-style civil union » offers a possibly more coherent structure than our current form of marriage.

Mots-clés: civil union, common-law marriage, marriage, roman marriage, matrimonial right

When Family Carries Weight... Deciding Whether to Live in a Rural Area or Move Away
Myriam Simard

Aging together with low demographic growth in many parts of Quebec, more especially in rural areas, is creating a major challenge for the State, for municipalities and for a range of local stakeholders. How is one to attract and conserve new populations in localities that are less populated than cities and that can offer fewer services? Based on a synthesis of my research into the process of insertion of a range of populations into Quebec rural areas (immigrant farmers, seasonal agricultural workers, regionally-based young immigrants, general practitioners, new countryfolk) the present article will highlight the interaction of a number of factors that may contribute to one’s decision to live in a rural environment or to move away from it. Whereas writings on the subject do in general place more emphasis on the professional, financial or personal factors, I will look more into the less obvious factors, such as the family factors that relate to the spouse and children, and the socio-community based and cultural factors, along with those linked to the natural environment. I will conclude by proposing some avenues for discussion and behaviours that could increase the attraction of the countryside and the desire to remain there..

Mots-clés: young family, migration, rural areas, factors of attraction and conservation, new countryside population, family policies

Famili@ and Family Research in Quebec (1981-2005)
Renée B. Dandurand, Anne Deret, Sylvie Jutras

Famili@ is a database of family research in Quebec, available since 1998 on the Internet. Its history, objectives, target audience, actual audience and the parameters of its content are described first. Subsequently, there is a presentation of the data collected for the database, a compendium of 25 years of research on the family in Quebec, from 1981 to 2005, including the wider themes, some characteristics of the authors (gender, discipline) and the initial format of the published works.

Keywords: research, family, Quebec, social sciences, database