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Quand les jeunes issus de familles nombreuses envisagent de devenir parents : l’influence de la socialisation primaire sur le nombre d’enfants souhaités

Martine Court, Julien Bertrand, Géraldine Bois, Gaële Henri-Panabière, Olivier Vanhée

Since the 1980s, many studies have indicated that descendants from large families tend to desire, and indeed to have, many children. However, such adult duplication of the kind of family one knew in one’s own childhood cannot be taken for granted. The fact of having grown up with numerous siblings is not itself sufficient to foster the wish of such persons to have many children themselves. The emergence of such a desire presupposes a certain number of social conditions. This article analyses such conditions with a particular focus on the role of primary socialization. More specifically, it describes three kinds of socializing experience likely to support or, quite to the contrary, to oppose the construct of a desire amongst young people born within large families to themselves have many children. These are : the great or lesser happiness of their childhood memories ; the role they played in looking after their younger siblings ; their perception of their parents’ lifestyle. The present article demonstrates that in each one of these situations, the socializing experiences underlying the desire to oneself have many children are not evenly distributed within the social space.