World conferences 14th World Conference 2011

Lyon, France

19/07/2011 – 23/07/2011

The 14th World Conference of the Society was held in Lyon, France from July 19th-23rd 2011. The theme was Generation solidarities. The conference convenor was Prof. Hugues Fulchiron. The conference theme was explained in the following terms: “Today, increasing life expectancy, geographic mobility, and labor-market entry barriers all contribute both to the decline of the traditional family and the rise of new family forms. The traditional extended family is gradually being replaced with smaller family units centered around the parent-child relationship. The new family is also, increasingly, a family that is separated or blended; it may include only one parent or even a single individual. New family forms and increased individualization of family relationships are fundamental aspects of contemporary life. Although these shifts are diverse and complex, all of them have a profound impact on family function and family law.

The personal and familial obligations recognized by earlier generations are disappearing. New obligations are beginning to appear, redefining intergenerational ties and highlighting, sometimes quite dramatically, the situation of those most at risk, including children, the disabled and, perhaps most of all, the elderly.

These developments raise questions about the respective roles of the family and the state in protecting the needy, as well as the relationship between public and private obligation. These questions are important both for developed countries, which contend with aging populations and economic uncertainty, and for emerging nations confronting the social, demographic, and economic changes produced by modernization.