Marie-Blanche Tahon


Marie-Blanche Tahon

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Marie-Blanche Tahon


Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Research Focus

  • Sociological and anthropological indicators leading to an understanding of the modern family
  • A socio-anthropological approach to family with regard to both gender and sexual equality
  • Filiation as the customary means of entry into society (via civil union, which inevitably is secular)

Research Relevance

Bill 84 creating civil union and the new laws governing filiation, which was passed by the Quebec National Assembly in 2002, and Bill C-38, which defines marriage as the union of two persons, suggest a need for a fresh look at the laws governing the family that goes beyond the couple. Perhaps unwittingly, the new laws have nevertheless sparked a reexamination of two-parent families. The difficulty posed by a tradition held in contempt but nevertheless advocated by its proponents is the right of children to have two parents. To encourage new thinking in an emerging field involving a redefinition of family law, it is necessary to revisit the theory behind it.

Family and policy in sociological theory

For 25 years, the sociology of family has expanded significantly, as much in the area of empirical research as in those involving more theoretical and methodological approaches. Taking into account the rise of individualism in contemporary society, many of the current approaches to studying the family have tended to reduce social interaction to interpersonal relations predicated on contractual models, indeed to a “psychologization” of family relationships, by omitting the distinction that exists between the private and domestic. By linking an examination of the transformation of the family to the political process of equality, Marie-Blanche Tahon advances a perspective informed by views expressed by Pierre Bourdieu who wrote that “the sociology of the family, so often subject to sentimentality, might be little more than a specific example of political sociology.”

More specifically, her research comprises three writing projects. The first revisits the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Françoise Héritier and Pierre Bourdieu regarding anthropological “invariants” at a critical juncture of gender and sexual equality. The second redefines the importance accorded the family in the history of sociology. Particular attention is paid to the manner in which the “founding fathers” and their heirs regarded the family as linked to sexual relations. The third provides an update of La famille désinstituée, published in 1995, which has already been favourably reviewed by the francophone university community.

Awards and Accomplishments

  • Organizer of the 4e Congrès international de recherches féministes dans la francophonie plurielle (University of Ottawa, July 2005)
  • Recipient of numerous external (SSHRC) and internal research grants
  • Director of three post-doctoral research projects
  • Author of La famille désinstituée. Introduction à la sociologie de la famille (1995); Algérie. La guerre contre les civils (1998); Sociologie des rapports de sexe (2003); Vers l'indifférence des sexes? Union civile et filiation au Québec (2004).
  • Co-author of L'État nourricier. Mexique/Algérie (1988)
  • Co-publisher of Les autres marxismes réels (1985); L'Italie. Le philosophe et le gendarme (1986); La radicalité du quotidien (1987);Famille et fragmentation (2000); Le Deuxième sexe. Une relecture en trois temps 1949-1971-1999 (2001); Générations (2005)
  • Author of 45 book chapters, 54 published articles and 113 scientific papers.
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