La famille à distance. Mobilités, territoires et liens familiaux [Families separated by distance: mobility, territories and family ties]

This book brings together analyses by demographers, geographers, sociologists and ethnologists on the effects of distance on family functioning, focusing in particular on different spatial configurations. How can we describe the territories that today’s families occupy in time and space? And how do family ties evolve when family members are geographically dispersed?

Distance here takes on several meanings in that it may refer to families having more than one place of residence but also to migration by some family members or new types of residential mobility that change how family territories are composed at several scales. The book’s fifteen chapters show how the family extends beyond the “household”, a term referring to a single space. This approach is a means of critically probing the classic categories produced and used by public statistics. By suggesting the relevance of surpassing those categories, it invites us to conceive of family relations differently: changing lifestyles, increased and widespread mobility, new means of communication, the development of teleworking and multi-residence are social realities that call for new ways of apprehending the now multi-located family.

Consistent with this understanding, space is a crucial datum for these authors, as it directly impacts how family ties are structured and constructed: blended families operate with more than one household; in transnational families—that is families where members live in at least two countries—ties are maintained with the country of origin; intimate partners live together part time for professional or personal reasons, and so forth.

The set of situations presented and analyzed here were identified by studies and surveys conducted in Europe, Africa and Latin America using a variety of approaches and methods. The primary strength of this book consists precisely in this original multi-disciplinary and conceptual dialogue.

Source: sous la direction de Christophe Imbert, Eva Lelièvre et David Lessault, 2018, La famille à distance.

Contact: Christophe ImbertEva Lelièvre et David Lessault

Online: February 2018