Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP5

Family Life and Professional Work: Conflict and Synergy (FamWork)

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2002-00147
Funded under: FP5-HUMAN POTENTIAL

Abstract

Although family life continues to be highly valued in most societies there is ample evidence that, particularly in Western countries, the family as a social institution has undergone profound changes over the last three or four decades. From a post-modernist point of view these changes can be attributed to societal trends such as increasing amounts of crises, break-ups and disorders which go along with a value system stressing contest, excellence and performance to promote economic development in a globalized and quickly changing world (Pourtois & Desmet, 2002; Sennett, 1998). Within this context, the family is undergoing a fourfold crisis: i.e., a crisis of relationship, meaning, power and values (Pourtois & Desmet, 2000a). Consequently, adults and children are subject to a variety of tensions they have to cope with. Thus, in a global perspective, the question about the compatibility of family and work has to be asked in a more complex way including
(a) a new conception of marriage (or other forms of couple relationships) which is based on affection and, in principle, serves the function of continually negotiating the delicate balance of personal autonomy and dyadic relatedness (de Singly, 2000a, 2000b; Giddens, 1992);
(b) a new meaning of parenthood emphasizing democratic, liberal and egalitarian parent-child relationships (Fize, 1991; Pourtois & Desmet, 2000a, 2003) with corresponding consequences for children�s identity formation and personality development (de Singly, 2002a; Purtois & Desmet, 2000b);
(c) a new image of the family resting on pluralistic family reality and diversity (Théry, 2001) where common models of family life co-exist with new, innovative family patterns (Caillé, 2003).

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