What are some of the important aspects of family values and family life in French-speaking societies? (Quels sont quelques aspects importants de la vie de famille et des valeurs familiales dans le monde francophone?)
Family is a cultural institution whose functions include procreation, socialization of children, and transmission of cultural and/ or religious values. There are similarities and differences across French-speaking societies as far as family values go, and over the past 50 years or so, family values have evolved significantly.
Individualistic vs Collective Soceities
Studies of European and African cultures indicate a difference between individualistic vs. collective societies. The two images below provide you with the key differences.
Image Courtesy of Verywell Mind
Image Courtesy of Verywell Mind
Family Values: Differences Across Culture
✝️ Although in Europe religion played an important role historically (particularly Christianity), France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, and Quebec are generally secular, or not religious. This means that there's no official religion, and in some situations, legislation prevents the ostentatious displays of religious practices. Religious traditions that influence family structure still exist, but modern family structures are becoming the norm.
🕋 In Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroun, Mali, Benin, Madagascar, and other African francophone countries, religion still plays a major role in everyday life. Morocco and Algeria are Muslim countries, whereas other countries are officially secular. Religious traditions that influence family structures still exist (e.g. polygamy) but changes in society are having an impact on family structures.
Family Structures and Children
In Europe and the majority of the European Francophone world, the nuclear family is still the most common structure, although the concept of family is morphing to reflect same-sex couples, single-parent families, etc. Furthermore, in Europe, consensual marriage is the norm. Europeans also focus on the individual, developing children to reach their potential.
In African francophone countries, the extended or multigenerational family is common, as are polygamist families. The nuclear family is less common in rural areas, but exists in urban cities. In the African francophone world, arranged marriages are as common as consensual marriages. When raising children, focus is on the community and what serves the best interests of the whole.
Note: While these comparisons can help you understand and organize what you've learned about francophone countries, they should be considered guides. Be careful not to overgeneralize when describing and discussing individual countries. You'll want to draw on what you have studied and learned in your French classes when writing or speaking about francophone countries, especially for the Cultural Comparison section on the test. 🤓
Strive for Five Vocab 🔑🔑
La famille joue un rôle critique dans la socialisation de l'enfant. Les membres de la famille transmettent les règles et les valeurs de la famille et de la société. La famille représente la sécurité pour l'enfant, et les parents ont la responsabilité de garantir le bien-être de l'enfant.
les moeurs (mores, social practices), les valeurs, les traditions, les normes
un système de croyances (a belief system)
la liberté personnelle vs. la solidarité du groupe (personal freedom vs. group strength)
un rite de passage (a rite of passage)
les changements / les développements / l'évolution
individualiste vs. collectif (individualism vs. collectivism)
Quelques verbes importants:
respecter / violer
transmettre (to transmit)
s'entraider (to help each other)
appartenir (to belong)
soutenir (to support)
fêter (to celebrate)
créer (to create)
assimiler (to assimilate)
affirmer (to affirm)
partager (to share)
évoluer (to evolve)
comporter (to include)
empêcher (to prevent)
ancien (remember that this can mean both old and former) / les aînés (du village, par exemple—the village elders) les ancêtres (ancestors)