Intergenerational Relationships – Developments and Socio-Political Challenges

Wednesday, 16. October 2013 | 10:30 Uhr


François Höpflinger


University Zürich


During the first part of his presentation, Professor François Höpflinger of the University of Zurich spoke about significant trends in intergenerational relationships both within and outside families. He demonstrated that notions about the disintegration of intergenerational solidarity within families have proved to be wrong and that today there are some very intense intergenerational relationships within families. While intergenerational relationships within families have developed positively overall, intergenerational relationships outside of families are patchier.
In the second part, he explained to what degree the socio-political framework strengthens or weakens intergenerational relationships and what challenges are likely to arise for intergenerational relationships of the future from demographic developments. In this context, he demonstrated on the basis of international comparisons that a developed welfare state does not contribute to the repression, but sometimes even to the strengthening, of intergenerational relationships within families. On the other hand, demographic aging means that care must be taken not to allow older generations to profit too much at the expense of younger or subsequent generations.
His reasoning as to why today’s intergenerational relationships are so good was interesting: “Within the relationships, there is an ‘intimacy at a distance’. The generations within families are not dependent upon each other, and this knowledge makes the relationships stronger.”

Presentation of Professor François Höpflinger

François Höpflinger

University studies of Sociology and direction of research projects in the field of demographics and family sociological issues for many years. From 1992 until 1998, he directed the national research program (NFP 32) ‘Alter/ Vieillesse/ Anziani’, and subsequent worked on gerontological issues. After summer semester 1994, he was titular professor for Sociology at the University of Zurich. From 1999 until 2008, he was research director of the university Institute for age and generations (INAG), Sion, Switzerland. Since 2009, he carried out freelance research and consulting activities on age and generational issues.
In 2003, together with Valérie Hugentobler, he received the Vontobel prize for gerontology

Thematic focuses of previous and current research activities include:
– Demography/population sociology
– Gerontology
– Generational issues and relations
– Family sociology
– Social politics

Present research focuses on
– Generational relations and issues
– Out-patient, family and hospital care at old age
– Working in later stages of life
– Living in second part of life

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