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Dons, parentés et représentations sociales

Abstract : This thesis focuses on the representational systems involved in family building through sperm donation. Drawing on psychosocial theories, it investigates the logic behind these systems and their efficacy in social practices. Specifically, we explore how anthropological issues to do with kinship/relatedness and giving-receiving relationships are transformed into common sense knowledge in the case of sperm donation. This issue is considered using a sociogenetic approach, through the lens of social representations theory. Adopting this theoretical perspective allowed us to trace the elements and milestones of the processes of symbolic coping at play among those whose task is to institutionalise these practices, and among those who experience them.We developed a research programme organised according to principles of method triangulation, hence conducting multi-level studies of representational phenomena. Owing to our scientific partnership with the French federation of CECOS (certified clinics), we conducted quantitative and qualitative research (interviews and focus groups) with parents who conceived their children using sperm donation. A further aspect of our research was based upon an analysis of parliamentary debates regarding the 2011 revision to bioethics legislation in France.Our findings indicated the significance of representational systems for meaning making about parenthood through sperm donation. Specifically, the representational fields of parliamentary players were shown to be organised by tensions between fundamental categories of thought (themata). We found similarities between parental and parliamentary logics that both favoured anonymity, but no relationship between parents’ disclosure decisions and donor anonymity. We did however observe that parents make sense of sperm donation through a shared - yet negotiated - representational project anchored in a rather traditional family model. This project was found to be enacted paradoxically by a set of significant practices (disclosure strategies; egg donation) that constitute representational actions.Our discussion underlines the intense dynamic that underpins the investigated representational systems, studied in different areas of production and transformation. It leads to complex and tense representational phenomena, including actions that transgress and prolong the established cultural and social order.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 3:33:27 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 9:41:06 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-01452020, version 1



Marjolaine Doumergue. Dons, parentés et représentations sociales. Psychologie. Université de Lyon, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016LYSE2131⟩. ⟨tel-01452020⟩



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