Historical, psychological and anthropological perspectives
Aurélie Damet (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
The proposed program represents a straight continuation of the research days held at ANHIMA by F. Gherchanoc and J.-B. Bonnard on the “Mères et maternités en Grèce antique” (“Mothers and motherhoods in ancient Greece”, but it aims at widening the scope of the questioning. The focus of this program’s study is the family unit, understood in its nuclear dimension as well as in a larger one, including both the study of the oikos’ slaves and the analysis of the city as a family (“familialism”).
What is at stake is to question the functioning of family :
➢ Therein : relationships between parents and children, between husbands and wives, collateral relatives, siblings, relationships between masters and slaves ;
➢ As well as in the interconnection with the city : family legislation (adultery, repudiation, adoption, epikleros, obligation to provide food, marriage), historical developments of the place of the family in the civic communities, study of the historical and political disruptions (such as the law of Pericles), use of the family paradigm for diplomatic purposes.
As a “total social fact”, family is at the same time a particular field of study with its own logic and a prism to tackle issues such as :
➢ The emotional fact : how can filial, parental and brotherly love be considered in the Greek family ? Does the frequency of the built kingship conflict with a Philia by nature ?
➢ The religious fact : the question of family deities, of the family relationships in the Greek pantheon, of the religious dimension of the kingship identity building, recently further highlighted
➢ The gender : differential treatment or not of the husbands/wives, the mothers/fathers, of daughters/sons, in the laws of the Greek city. It will be important to reconsider the relations, sometimes contentious, between some deconstructionist theories of gender, which seek to minimize the importance of the family as an identity transmitter and as the basis of the subjective and individual construction, and some anthropological and psychoanalytic theories, which on the contrary give the family a crucial position. How can we then consider the ancient family under these methodological guidelines ?
➢ The law : question of the family legal statuses, of the codification of the legacies, of the legal obligations of family solidarity, of the role of private slaves in the Greek world
➢ The body : the importance of the bodily fluids, blood, semen, breast milk, in the ancient parental identity ; representation and perception of the bodies of the different family entities, father, mother, daughter, son, sister, brother. It would be especially interesting to reconsider the anatomical analogies between the family entities and the parts of the body, as they are already known for the pairs children/eyes, mother/stomach and breast.
The chosen perspective will be firmly anthropological and psychological, and will form the prism though which the literary, philosophical, legal and institutional objects will be considered. It is a question of extending the recent renewal of family studies, in particular though the contribution of the history of affects and of the philia, and of the anthropology of the bodily fluids. The aim is to revamp the family bonds in the ancient times in terms which go beyond the classic economic and legal definition of the household.
All the ancient sources may then be considered though this prism, from the tragedy to the legislative epigraphy, from the archaeological records (votive stelae, mortuary artefacts) to the legal discourses, from philosophers to the Homeric poems.
If the starting point of the investigation will be the Greek household, the wealth of the anthropological perspective is to precisely command an opening of the questioning to some times and places which will exceed the Greek world and the Archaic and Classical periods.
> Upcoming projects
A research day, at the crossroads of the programs “Droit grec” (“Greek law”) and “Famille et parenté dans les mondes grecs” (“Family and kingship in the Greek worlds”)
"Les politiques familiales dans le monde antique", Friday and Saturday the 17th and 18th of June 2016, INHA. Planed oral presentation of Philippe Moreau, Sabine Armani, Florence Gherchanoc, Maude Lajeunesse, Jérôme Wilgaux, Delfim Leao, Evelyne Scheid, Sophie Démare-Lafont, Aurélie Damet.