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Being a parent today: the construction of the bond of descent in the symbolic universe of kinship

Hélène Belleau

Many questions arise today when it comes to defining parenthood. If the biological link is no longer an essential factor, the notion of long-term linkage remains fundamental and the instrumental daily commitment of parent to child is more material than ever. Being a parent is no longer necessarily restricted to a conjugal or even charnel relationship, nor does it automatically involve a male-female partnership, as is presupposed by the fundamental principles of our genealogical system, which is based on sexual differentiation. Being a parent today also requires, more and more often, that we take into account other ‘parental’ modes.