(Re)-Discovering parents and parenting in France: What really is new?
Contributor(s)Centre de Recherches sur l'Action Politique en Europe (CRAPE) ; Université de Rennes 1 (UR1) - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Rennes - École des Hautes Études en Santé Publique [EHESP] (EHESP) - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
ANR-10-ORAR-0005, POLCHI, Governer les 'nouveaux risques sociaux': Le cas des politiques en direction de l'enfance dans les Etats-providence européens(2010)
welfare state restructuring
[SHS.SOCIO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Sociology
[SHS.SCIPO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Political science
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AbstractAs in many other European and non-European countries, an explicit parenting support policy entered the French political agenda during the early 1990s: a 'turn to parenting' with its attendant new terms, instruments, and institutions. In France, decision makers now consider this parenting support policy to be a new, but still financially marginal, 'pillar of French family policy'. It responds to a growing political demand for a solution capable of guaranteeing the success of the parental educational mission and helping avoid the consequences of its failure for the entire community. One may well wonder, however, whether this policy represents a real innovation or merely the revival of a longstanding tradition of 'policing families'. This article analyses the framing of this policy, first by comparing the current international turn to parenting with the way this occurred in the French context (policy process and arguments). It then asks whether France is experiencing a revival of the longstanding tradition of policing the family, before discussing the cultural and socio-political backgrounds of this parenting support policy. This approach makes it possible to clarify what really is new about this policy, and it underlines the reactivation of old and deeply rooted oppositions and controversies concerning the issue of the family in the French context. These are characterised by structural oppositions between Republicans and the Catholic milieu and the division between left-and right-wing parties regarding their approach to the private life domain and the challenge of secularization.