Publicador de contenidos

Back to 15_2_24_ICS_familia

"The strategic functions of the family must be rediscovered."

Interview with Carolina Montoro, professor of Geography and member of the committee of experts of the workshop Interdisciplinary on the Family.

Image description
PHOTO: Manuel Castells
24/02/15 15:01 Fina Trèmols

Carolina Montoro is from Pamplona. She is married and has 4 children. She holds a degree in History from the University of Navarra and later a PhD in Human Geography from the same academic center. In addition to numerous scientific activities, she was an advisor to the Family Support Plan of the Government of Navarra "A strategic framework for the strengthening of our society".

She is currently the vice dean of research of the School of Philosophy and LettersShe is a full professor at department of History, Art History and Geography, and the deputy director of the Institute of Family Sciences. Institute of Family Sciences. She is also a member of the committee of experts for the interdisciplinary workshop interdisciplinary 'Family and Society in the 21st Century', coordinated by thewhich is coordinated by the Institute for Culture and Society on the initiative of Office of the Vice President for Research.

Professor Montoro points out that "Geography is a science that straddles the study of nature and society, which, due to the breadth of its field of study, requires the knowledge of other auxiliary sciences. Human Geography focuses on the location, characterization and explanation of a whole series of phenomena that people are involved in, as well as on the transformation and organization of space. In my case, work in population geography, using demography as a related science, which provides a double methodological approach. On the one hand, quantitative, supported by statistics to analyze issues related to societies both in their static aspect -structure and composition- and dynamic -evolution, growth and mobility-. On the other hand, a qualitative approach, based on another subject of tools, complements and enriches the interpretation of the analysis".

"It is possible to work in population geography without making reference letter to the family," he continues, "or to consider it as one more variable in the characterization of populations. However, working in this way implies, in my opinion, handling a concept of population equivalent to an abstract reality, comparable to other natural phenomena, or, if you prefer, to other non-human populations. The population is made up of people who are usually (in the statistical sense of the term: usually) born and live in familiar Structures and who act impelled by their closest reality, the one defined by their loved ones. That force or sense of family (or its absence) is what is behind, ultimately written request, many of the population phenomena present in contemporary societies".

"We study everything related to the training, the development and also the disappearance of populations. We analyze the fecundity, mobility and mortality of individuals. Likewise, it is also important to study nuptiality: the process of union and dissolution of couples between people. This demographic phenomenon is considered a secondary topic , perhaps because the results do not directly affect population growth. However, nuptiality is nothing more than studying the beginning of what later, in a natural way, will give way to fertility".

What is the current status from a demographic point of view?

Population aging, reflecting increased life expectancy and declining fertility, is the defining feature of today's populations, coupled with increased mobility and migration.

If we look at the decline in fertility, many reasons are given: loss of values, lack of economic resources, etc., but it is often forgotten how the couple is formed. Statistics indicate that families established by agreement to a religious or civil rite have more offspring than those based on simple cohabitation. Why? Because they are protected by a commitment, the expression of a couple's will. The value of freedom is emphasized, but depending on how it is managed, the result is one or the other. A society with long-lived, but small families, it is logical that it has reduced aspirations on fertility: the ideal of family size fits the reality that surrounds us. This is true even if the qualitative programs of study emphasizes that motherhood - and fatherhood - are fulfilling and motivate people, despite the difficulties.

On the other hand, it has been shown that married people live longer than those who are single, especially after a certain age. In other words, from the point of view of the development of populations, having a family is not the same as not having one, nor do all families produce the same result.

Fields of study

Carolina Montoro points out that there are abundant examples of interesting topics for research on the family from the field of population geography and demography. Among all the possible ones, she points out a few:

"We are facing an aging population, which has to face the challenge of care for dependent people and in which it is increasingly important to answer questions about how families live, how family relationships are articulated, how parenthood is perceived, what are the problems and solutions in the field of the desired balance between the work and the family; these are areas in which aspects related to nuptiality, fertility and mortality converge".

Also from the point of view of migration, issues of great interest and relevance are raised. "It is not true that mobility is only an individual phenomenon; even if only one member migrates, the implications of the process affect the whole family". With migration there are "processes of separation and regrouping of families that put at test the functioning of family ties and affect the integration of these people in the host societies, among other things. It is paradoxical that the newcomers facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life of the native populations while they are separated from their own or experience problems in caring for them".

What proposals can be made from population geography and demography to strengthen family ties?

Having the family in the framework of reference letter analytical on the different phenomena that affect people facilitates a richer and closer vision of reality; and makes that in the search for solutions to various challenges partner-demographic an intermediate scale between the individual and the population as a whole is raised.

Population geography and demography work on issues that affect the welfare of people, including the welfare of families. The planning of resources aimed at families at risk of family exclusion, the design of public and private social and family policies, integration plans for immigrants, etc., are aspects that, in addition to being the object of academic research , have an obvious social application. In any case, although there is no single way of understanding the family, it is true that the best proposals will be those that ensure that families can successfully fulfill all their strategic functions and thus achieve complete and happy citizens.