The consecration of children :
Perspectives on a contemporary passion
The recent, simultaneous publication in French of two books on childhood is an occasion to analyze the two faces—one decidedly grim, the other considered quite attractive—of a phenomenon here called the “consecration of children,” understood
to characterize current attitudes toward childhood in western societies. This critical review first presents and discusses Pierre Verdrager’s L’Enfant interdit, which studies discourses on pedophilia in France since the 1970s and how the issue has been dealt with in that country. It then turns to Séverine Mathieu’s L’Enfant des possibles, which discusses the ethical positions of the actors—patients as well as caregivers—implicated in medically assisted reproduction. The review thereby brings to light a profound shift in attitudes that simultaneously involves attitudes toward childbearing, filiation and social norms. It successively points up a civilization of childbearing, filiation reversal and norm psychologization and naturalization.
Key words. CHILDHOOD — HILDBEARING — FAMILY— FILIATION — NORMS — PEDOPHILIA