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No 8 - 2008

The lifestyle of suburban families: mobility, integration, sociability and generational differentiation
Directed by Andrée Fortin, Carole Després

Introduction: Dense Cities, Scattered Cities, What Mobility for Which Families?
Andrée Fortin, Carole Després

As the title states, all of the articles in this issue allow us to examine the relationship between family mobility and the more or less scattered shape of their living environment. The different articles analyze the daily movements of children, teenagers, and young adults, but also whole families, in connection with the spatial, temporal and sometimes arbitration strategies employed to make trips to school, shops, leisure spaces or second homes.


Radioscopy of the Territories of Child Mobility in Urban Areas. Comparison Between Paris Intra-Muros and the Paris Suburbs
Sandrine Depeau

In the present paper, the daily mobility of children is seen as a unique analyzer of family life styles, more especially as concerns those families that have opted to reside in the suburbs, in one of the new towns in the area of Paris .Using both quantitative and qualitative data for purposes of comparing, within two urban contexts (central Paris and the Paris suburbs), the discourse of the children and that of their parents, we show the effect of residential logic and of the urban structures of neighbourhoods on the conditions of independent travel. In the new town, the child’s autonomy tends to develop according to a territorial logic that reflects a need for set limits, sociability and visibility, whereas downtown it is the logic of trajectory that prevails.


Daily Mobility of Adolescents Living in a Rural Area in the Quebec City Metropolitan Community
Nabila Bachiri, Carole Després

There has been little research to date on adolescent daily travel patterns as linked to the characteristics of their residential neighbourhood and the location of their educational establishments. In the present qualitative enquiry we have analyzed the travelling habits of 30 adolescents living in the peripheral areas of the CUQ (Quebec City urban community), and concluded as to their significance. The results confirm that daily mobility is dependent on being driven to school by parents, or taking the school bus. Because of the long distances involved, due to the wide dispersion of businesses, equipment and services over the area concerned, it is almost impossible to walk or even cycle to one’s destination, and the lack or inefficiency of public transport does not encourage its use. The potential consequences of such subservient mobility on the development and habits of adolescents are discussed in the conclusion of this paper, and additional related research avenues are suggested.


Modes of Transportation and Territories Practiced Solo by Teenagers in the Urban Region of Quebec City
Marie-Hélène Vandersmissen

This article is aimed at better documenting individual resources with respect to mobility, the characteristics of daily mobility and the extramural territories covered by adolescents residing in the Quebec City metropolitan area. We will be asking two questions: does the motorcar, as a means of transportation, really permit adolescents to cover a wider territory than would be possible using public transport (in this case Quebec City buses)? Is the area of territory covered by young men larger than that covered by young women? Our main results indicate that the territories covered by adolescents are wider when they are driving a car than when using public transport, except when they reside in downtown neighbourhoods; and that it is only when they are « pedestrians » that young men cover more territory than do the young women.


What Daily Intra-Urban Mobility Without the Car? The Case of Adolescents in a Suburb of Strasbourg
Thierry Ramadier, Chrissanthy Petropoulou, Anne-Christine Bronner

What geographical structure and urban morphologies characterize the daily mobility of suburban adolescents who have no direct access to a motorcar? What role do parents play, whether because of their social standing or because of the way they « support » their child’s daily itinerary? Finally, what urban areas do adolescents patronize, and to what extent are there variations within this age group? To answer these questions, we carried out an in-depth investigation, involving 36 adolescents residing in a neighbourhood mainly dedicated to housing developments in the Strasburg inner suburban ring. The results indicate that the distribution of areas patronized within the conurbation represent in fact four major geographical types. But there are other factors that come into play, more especially gender, the type of activity that requires mobility, the means of transport, the cityscapes patronized and represented. In other words, we are looking at four types of relationship with geographical space that seem to be largely dependent on existing types of socio-spatial segregation. Nevertheless, parental support appears to be a significant factor when it comes to modulating these socio-spatial impacts on the daily mobility of the adolescent.


The Cottage as Intergenerational Practice: Narratives of Family Life in Second Homes in Central Ontario
Nik Luka

This article examines multiple residency and hypermobility in the Toronto metropolitan region as it is made manifest in the large-scale use of second homes across the central part of Ontario. How do these well-known ‘cottages’ enable households, particularly those with young children and teenagers, to situate themselves in time and space? Drawing on a detailed study of patterns, uses, meanings, and residential meanings associated with the ‘cottage’ setting, the article presents results of in-depth interviews (n=71) and an online questionnaire (n=200) to provide insight into the context-specific links among settlement patterns, mobility, and sociability.


Laid Off ... Ethnography of the Relation to the Automobile, Space and Displacement Among the Young People Living in a Deprived Peripheral Town of a Small City of the North of France in the Middle of the 90s
Yves Lacascade

In the peripheral, underprivileged and deurbanized cities of Northern France, having access to a motorcar (belonging to the father or, more likely, shared by the whole family) is seen as the surest way of distancing oneself from the ghetto and to escape its inevitable and ever-present stigma. The ghetto-dweller is first and foremost someone who travels on foot and exhausts himself in wasting time that has lost all value. And he is also someone who, in the course of his pedestrian displacements, will come up against a multitude of obstacles that will unceasingly remind him of his status of urban outcast.


Siblings' Perceptions of Actions that Promote Well-Being in Families with a Diabetic Child
Emmanuelle Roy, Sylvie Jutras

In this paper we examine the way in which the siblings of diabetic children react to family interaction promoting well-being (Jutras et al., 1997): this includes support behaviour, promotion of healthy lifestyles, positive interpersonal relations and therapeutic intervention. Individual interviews were conducted with 55 children (aged between 8 and 17). An analysis of the content of these interviews indicates that support behaviour and positive interpersonal relations are in the forefront. Overall, there is a symmetry or match between the way in which types of action offered and accepted by the child are perceived, though there may be asymmetry as regards the promotion of a healthy lifestyle by the mother or in the case of therapeutic acts involving the diabetic child. An analysis of the balance of exchanges shows that the mother’s and father’s input is in surplus, whereas the diabetic child is in deficit. However, a more detailed analysis of reciprocity underlines the fact that the siblings are aware of the contribution of the diabetic child to their emotional wellbeing.


Social Representations of the Stepfather's Parenting Commitment in the Reconstituted Family
Claudine Parent, Madeleine Beaudry, Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques, Daniel Turcotte, Caroline Robitaille, Marie Boutin, Catherine Turbide

In this paper we are presenting the results of a study of the social representations of a stepfather’s parental commitment (a stepfather being someone other than the biological or adoptive father of his spouse’s children) by different members of the blended families: eight mothers, twelve stepfathers and nine biological fathers. The aim of the study is to reach an understanding of how the adults in such families perceive the role of stepfather to the children concerned and to probe the dimensions of the parental commitment of these stepfathers. The results show that certain interpretations of their role appear to be shared more particularly by the parents, while others seem to be more specific to the stepfathers.