Family and kinship

This theme concerns contemporary transformations of conjugality, ways of accessing parenthood and family life, and the analysis of the institutional arrangements governing status and family relations. The combined contributions of anthropology and sociology have forged a close relational approach to the study of relationships, positions and individual trajectories in historically, socially and culturally specific contexts.
Our research is now focused in several directions, from a comparative perspective integrating different cultural areas. Our projects concern the redefinition of relations, places and status related to kinship in the current forms of family life, resulting from disunity and recompositions, recourse to adoption or assisted reproduction, whether founded by couples of different sexes, the same sex or by single people. Our analyses focus on how the notions of body, gender and kinship are re-interrogated in configurations characterized by a growing dissociation of the three potentially constitutive dimensions of links between parents: the facts of reproduction or “childbearing”, the experience of parenthood, and statutory maternity and paternity. Supported by empirical investigations within families and institutions, analysis of public debates and legislative and policy changes, our research focuses on contemporary redefinitions of motherhood in contexts of conception through third-party donors or the issue of origins in adoptive and assisted reproduction families. Various forms of collaboration are developing with the health sciences, focusing on the family dynamics associated with new reproductive technologies, whether pathways to parenthood after cancer or kinship practices related to the circulation of information when using a donor.
A new and emerging issue is concerned with contemporary conjugal and parental dynamics as they are worked through by the professional sphere, linking the sociology of gender and family dynamics to the sociology of work. The generalization of women’s paid work and the rise of “non-standard” hours lead us to question the impact of work on biographical calendars (entry into conjugality and parenthood, separations, etc.) as well as the power relations that play out between women and men in the domestic sphere. A comparative perspective can be developed from anthropological research conducted on work as a lever for transforming gender and kinship relations in other geographical and cultural areas.