The Alpine Population Conference, La Thuile, Aosta Valley, Italy

The Alpine Population Conference, La Thuile, Aosta Valley, Italy

Alp-Pop brings together scholars interested in population issues across several disciplines, including demography, economics, epidemiology, political science, sociology, and psychology. The conference emphasizes empirical rigor and innovation over a given topic or geographical area, and meets the challenges of interdisciplinary and international audiences.

We welcome submissions on all population issues (e.g., population dynamics, population health, migration, families and fertility, the welfare state and population policy, economic development, institutions and population, decision-making, well-being, and social dynamics, etc.), but we particularly encourage submissions that take a life-course perspective.

Submissions of original papers or extended abstracts are invited by November 1, 2014, and submitters will be notified of acceptance within the week. Submissions and inquiries should be addressed via email to:

The 2015 Conference will feature Ski-note presentations from Francesco Billari of Oxford University, Kelly Musick from Cornell University, and John Ermisch from Oxford University.

Alp-Pop scholars confer both formally and informally. A traditional conference program (paper and poster presentations) mixes with group activities in a world-class winter resort. The conference location, the Planibel Hotel, is on the well-known ski slopes of La Thuile and was chosen strategically for its proximity to both Geneva and Torino/Milano.

Participants are expected to seek their own funding; although, the organizers can provide some support for Ph.D. students, and such applications should indicate a request for support in their submissions. Special-rate rooms have been reserved at the conference hotel with arrival on January 24 and departure on January 28 (the conference will end late morning).

Participants will receive information on how to reach La Thuile and updates on the conference. If there is demand, we will also aim to organize child care. Please indicate whether you intend to bring children along to the conference, as well as their ages.

Organizing committee

Arnstein Aassve (Bocconi University), Laura Bernardi (Lausanne University & NCCR LIVES), Ross Macmillan (Bocconi University), Michele Pellizzari (University of Geneva & NCCR LIVES), and Domenico Tabasso (University of Geneva & NCCR LIVES).

Alp-Pop is organized by the Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics at Bocconi University and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES - Overcoming vulnerability: Life course perspectives (NCCR LIVES).

Round-table with leading figures on "Senior Citizens: The Forgotten People of Education”

Round-table with leading figures on "Senior Citizens: The Forgotten People of Education”

For the launch of Roland J. Campiche and Afi Sika Kuzeawu’s book, published with Editions Antipodes, the National Center of Competence in Research LIVES and the Swiss Federation of Universities of the Third Age organise a mini-conference in collaboration with the foundations Leenaards and Champ-Soleil, taking place on Thursday, September 18, 2014, from 17:00 to 19:00 at the Hotel Continental, Salon Olympia, Place de la Gare 2 in Lausanne.

One and a half million people are now aged 60 to 85 years. Most are in good health and take advantage of their retirement time; often at the service of others, but sometimes also to educate their minds and culture.

Despite this fundamental change in contemporary society, there has not been any prospective reflection on the necessary adaptations to education policies which continue to focus exclusively on children and youth.

Yet the importance of exercising the brain to prevent the effects of aging has been amply demonstrated, and the need to delay the retirement age continues to be debated, although primarily with regards to financial concerns focussing on medical and social costs.

Education is still only seen as a means to meet the needs of the labour market. It is completely disconnected from the new human reality that sees more and more people capable of learning and passing on their knowledge once their professional careers are over. They are still eager to develop. But an education specifically geared towards the elderly taking into account knowledge, skills and experience remains to be invented.

This lack of reflection sets the stage for this round-table, which will explore the issue and take stock of the challenges ahead. On the occasion of the launch of the book Adultes aînés : les oubliés de la formation [1], leaders from different domains and backgrounds will exchange views, identify obstacles and outline possible venues for action.


Welcome and introduction :

  • Dario Spini, Director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES - Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspectives (NCCR LIVES)


  • Roland J. Campiche, sociologist, Prof. Emeritus at the University of Lausanne
  • Yves Dunant, MD, Prof. Emeritus at the University of Geneva - Department of Neuroscience
  • François Höpflinger, sociologist, Prof. Emeritus at the University of Zurich
  • Christiane Jaquet Berger, former President of the Swiss Council of Elders
  • Guy Parmelin, National Council, Member of the Commission of Social Security and Health
  • Géraldine Savary, Council of States, President of the Commission of Science, Education and Culture of the Council of States
  • Guy Suchet, Director of Social Affairs, Swiss French Federation of Businesses, Geneva, President of the Foundation Force nouvelle


  • Manuela Salvi, journalist, RTS 


  • Philippe Terrier, Prof. Emeritus at the University of Neuchâtel, director of the University of the Third Age of Neuchâtel, President of the Swiss Federation of Universities of the Third Age

The round-table will be followed by an aperitif. Please subscribe by sending an email no later than 15 September 2014 to:

[1] By Roland J. Campiche and Afi Sika Kuzeawu with the collaboration of Jacques Lanares, Sandrine Morante, Denis Berthiaume, Antipodes editions, Lausanne, 2014

Social psychologists get together in Amsterdam for the 2014 European Meeting

Social psychologists get together in Amsterdam for the 2014 European Meeting

The European Association of Social Psychology will be holding its 17th congress from July 9 to 12, 2014 in Amsterdam. More than 800 individual presentations and almost 700 posters are on the agenda, including NCCR LIVES researchers.

The program consists of 12 parallel sessions, including 101 symposia and 61 thematic sessions. The director of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES, Dario Spini, was member of the Scientific Programme Committee and several LIVES members were reviewers.

On Wednesday 9 July at 11:00 in the Symposium S09, Dario Spini will present “Social group participation, identity continuity and well-being after the loss of an intimate partner”, drawn from IP12 research. This paper written with Nadia Girardin and Davide Morselli shows how “social groups help to maintain identity continuity, which has a positive effect on well-being. Individuals who lost a partner and who participate in groups or feel continuity report greater well-being.” Continuity, which is the fact of remaining the same person over time, also moderated the effects of loss on well-being during the five years after the bereavement.

At the Poster Session 6 on Saturday 12 July, “The impact of normative climates on gender role attitudes” will be presented. It is an outcome of the LIVES 2013 Winter School on Life Course. During that week of intensive collaborative work between junior and seasoned researchers last year, participants used a social representations approach to show that “own gender role attitudes in 20 European countries are influenced by the normative climate, controlling for individual and structural context variables like family policy indicators and gender equality indices”. Véronique Eicher prepared this poster with Stephanie Glaeser, Aude Martenot (UNIGE), Sandra Penic (UNIL), Richard A. Settersten (Oregon State University), and Dario Spini.


NCCR LIVES awaits visitors at stand No 19 of the Geneva “Night of Science”

NCCR LIVES awaits visitors at stand No 19 of the Geneva “Night of Science”

“All that glitters… is not gold” applies particularly to the social sciences, in its vocation to go against common sense and counter class, origin, age, and gender prejudices. This is why research on life course jumped at the opportunity of the 10th edition’s theme, on the 5 and 6 July 2014, to present some activities inspired by scientific data and methods in an entertaining way.

"Perle du Lac" Park, Geneva - Stand No 19
Saturday 14:00 - 23:00 / Sunday 12:00 - 20:00

Researchers at the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES, especially those from the Interfaculty Centre of Gerontology and Vulnerabilities Studies (CIGEV) at the University of Geneva, will be proposing two activities.

To start with, come discover the life course calendars, a tool that is very much used in research on life course to track individual trajectories in different life domains: residency, family, professional activity, health. Life calendars show particularly well interactions between private and work life. By using this method, we have traced the biographies of several prominent figures, which visitors will have to guess thanks to the events along these personal life histories.

The highlight of the LIVES stand is a parody of a famous French TV game-show, “Mind the Step”, which was renamed “Mind the Stat” for the occasion. Following the model of the original programme, the visitors to the Night of Science may confront each other in pairs on questions about the Swiss society. In order to win, they will have to get as close as possible to the correct figures and be quick. The software that was especially developed for the occasion will also be available in a child-friendly version.

Full programme on

LIVES team involved in the preparation of the 17th European Conference on Personality

LIVES team involved in the preparation of the 17th European Conference on Personality

From July 15 to 19, 2014 in Lausanne, this event will cover a wide variety of topics, including: personality, health and well-being; personality and work and organizational psychology; personality, motivation, and emotion; and many others. Members of the NCCR LIVES IP7 are on board.

The 17th European Conference on Personality will propose 7 keynote presentations, 11 invited symposia, 30 open-call symposia, 24 paper sessions, 2 poster sessions, and 3 pre-conference workshops.

Prof. Jérôme Rossier, head of the IP7 within the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES at the University of Lausanne, is chair of the local organizing committee and is assisted by co-chair Dr. Marina Fiori from the University of Lausanne. Both are part of the international scientific committee.

The local organizing committee also includes other members of IP7: Prof. Franciska Krings, vice-rector of the University of Lausanne, Prof. Willibald Ruch from the University of Zurich, as well as Dr. Koorosh Massoudi and PhD Student Claire Johnston from the University of Lausanne.

On Wednesday 16th July, Claire Johnston will present “Changes in well-being and professional change: the role of career adapt-abilities and personality traits”, with Christian Maggiori and Jérôme Rossier as co-authors.

On Thursday 17th July, Dr. Christian Maggiori, another member of IP7 at the University of Lausanne, will present “The role of personal characteristics in an unstable professional context”, with Claire Johnston and Jérôme Rossier as co-authors.

Claire Johnston also organizes a lunchtime meeting on Thursday 17th July for PhD students and young researchers, called “Publishing in the European Journal of Personality: Overview & Tips” and presented by Wendy Johnson, Editor of the European Journal of Personality, along with the associate editors.

LIVES researchers at the Congress of the International Sociological Association in Japan

LIVES researchers at the Congress of the International Sociological Association in Japan

The XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology will take place in Yokohama from 13 to 19 July 2014 under the title “Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Global Sociology”. Some members of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES will join the hundreds of participants to present a paper.

Also to be noted,Francesco Giudici (IP13) is co-author of a paper presented by Ping-Yin KUAN, from the National Chengchi University in Taipei City (Taiwan): An Inter-Cohort Comparison of Intra-Cohort Social Stratification: How Do Cumulative Dis/Advantages Evolve Across Cohorts?

26 international students gathered on “Vulnerability, Empowerment and Social Work”

26 international students gathered on “Vulnerability, Empowerment and Social Work”

The University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Western Switzerland (HES-SO), the State of Vaud and the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES organise the 5th Summer University in Social Work from June 30 to July 11, 2014 in Lausanne. Many speakers will present LIVES research.

Students from all over the world will participate in the next Summer University in Social Work. They come from the United States (University of California Los Angeles - UCLA, and Boston College), Canada (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Burkina Faso (Institut National de Formation des Travailleurs Sociaux, Ouagadougou), India (Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Kochi), China (Shandong University) and Switzerland (HES-SO).

Among the professors we find many LIVES members: Michel Oris and Stefano Cavalli (IP13), Jean-Pierre Tabin and Jean-Michel Bonvin (IP5), Jean-François Bickel (IP5, IP13), Claudio Bolzman (IP2, IP13), Marianne Modak (IP8). The general coordination is ensured by Prof. Marc-Antoine Berthod from the HETS&SA l EESP, Lausanne, which is one of the HES-SO schools.

The theme of this edition is “Vulnerability, Empowerment and Social Work”. The complex interrelations between vulnerability and empowerment will be discussed, “two central concepts that are too frequently grasped separately in theoretical approaches”, the programme says.

The Summer University in social work aims at promoting exchanges between participants from various backgrounds, at facilitating comparative analysis and at stimulating new theoretical and professional approaches in social work. It offers a privileged place for discussions and debates to professors and students coming from many different countries.

The lectures and workshops will be based on the most recent researches, including LIVES data. As written in the booklet, “the international dimension of the event will help thinking critically and comparatively about what drives social work practice, often caught between an excessive concern for the protection of the most vulnerable and an idealistic ambition to enhance individual responsibilities and capacities.”

LIVES demographers participate in the European Population Conference in Budapest

LIVES demographers participate in the European Population Conference in Budapest

The biennial congress 2014 of the European Association for Population Studies (EAPS) is about to start on 25th June for four days in Hungary. The theme of this edition is « Transitions: Opportunities and Threats ». Some researchers from the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES will speak about changes in family settings, immigrants, ageing, and mortality.

“Fundamental changes started 25 years ago in the Eastern part of Europe, opening a new chapter in the history of the Continent. Even though the transformation of population processes is not complete, making an inventory from the perspective of a quarter century is both achievable and advantageous. It is worth asking more questions: whether a new pattern of demographic behaviour has emerged, how much it is different from other regions of Europe, and what mechanisms shaped population processes in the Eastern part of Europe.” This statement by the local organizers opens the programme of the EAPS 2014 Conference.

Some of the NCCR LIVES demographers will present their research or are co-author of a paper in the following sessions.


23-2 Young adults' excess mortality: individual reality or yet another heterogeneity's ruse?
Adrien Remund, Université de Genève


33-5 Widowhood and bereavement among the Swiss elderly. Exploring the associations in the causes of death
Michel Oris, Jonathan Zufferey, Reto Schumacher, Université de Genève


41-2 Partnership formation and labour market status among children of immigrants in Switzerland
Eder Andres Guarin Rojas, Université de Lausanne; Helga A. G. de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Laura Bernardi, Université de Lausanne


61-1 Doing research on ageing migrants: a methodological discussion on limitations and implications of studying ageing migrants
Ruxandra Oana Ciobanu, HES-SO & Université de Genève


75-4 Employment impacts on partnership and parenthood entry in different family-policy regimes
Michael S. Rendall, University of Maryland; Alessandra De Rose, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"; Ann Evans, Australian National University; Edith E. Gray, Australian National University; Doris Hanappi, University of California, Berkeley and Université de Lausanne; Frauke Kreute, University of Maryland; Trude Lappegard, Statistics Norway; Lori Reeder, University of Maryland; Marit R.nsen, Statistics Norway; Olivier Thevenon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED); Laurent Toulemon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)


108-5 Family diversity challenges demography: measuring and modeling the transition to solo parenthood
Laura Bernardi, Université de Lausanne


2-11 Life-course and transition to adulthood in China: the case study of Beijing in a comparative perspective between two cohorts born in the 1950s and 1980s
Sandra Constantin, University of Geneva

Image peepo © iStock

Social scientists and physicians exchange methods and ethical questions on panel data

An interdisciplinary workshop on June 26-27, 2014 organised by the NCCR LIVES and the IUMSP (CHUV) at the University of Lausanne will bring together researchers in the social sciences and in medicine to share their experience in collecting longitudinal data.

Longitudinal panel data have been collected for a long time in several scientific disciplines, especially in health sciences and social sciences. In health sciences, data are often partly composed of results of physiological or experimental repeated measures of biomarkers. In social sciences, data are collected in order to estimate the impact of an event or a change in the behaviours or attitudes of people interviewed, as well as to follow people during their life course.

Perspectives from the two disciplines have crossed in recent years: measures of biomarkers have been introduced in several social sciences panels while social questionnaires have been introduced in health sciences longitudinal cohorts. Despite this crossing issue, research traditions based on panel studies vary between these disciplines, as can be seen in ethics debates: for example, questionnaires on social networks can be considered intrusive in health and medical sciences, while mixing physiological measures and questionnaires is not always well perceived by social scientists. The aim of the workshop is to discuss these different issues.

A first session will be devoted to the different kinds of panel surveys. An interactive perspective between disciplines will be the object of the second session. The third session will be devoted to methodological issues. Invited speakers, coming from both disciplines, will speak about their experience in collecting longitudinal data.

This event is organised by Jean-Marie Le Goff (NCCR LIVES IP15) and Joan-Carles Suris, from the Institut universitaire de médecine sociale et préventive (IUMSP) of the University of Lausanne & CHUV.

Photo stockstudioX © iStock

Lone parenthood: an increasingly common situation, but a concept that needs to be redefined

The National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES is organizing an interdisciplinary, comparative workshop at the University of Lausanne to explore the various forms of single parenthood and their consequences on the life course. The symposium will be held on June 6 and 7, 2014 and will include fifteen speakers from several countries.

Since the 1970s, the number of children not brought up within a traditional family - with their biological parents united in marriage - has been constantly growing. In the past, parents bringing up their children alone were either widowers or widows, or what were then referred to as "gymslip mothers", with all the weight of the moral judgement contained in that label at the time.

This situation has changed with the rising rate and acceptance of divorces, increased life expectancy, more widely available contraception and the legalization of abortion. Has "enforced" single parenthood now been replaced by "chosen", or at least accepted, single parenthood? And more importantly, what challenges do those single parents face nowadays? These are just some of the aspects that will be dealt with by the "Lone Parenthood in a Life Course Perspective" workshop, on June 6 and 7. It will be held at the University of Lausanne and is organized by the NCCR LIVES in partnership with the universities of Berne and Geneva.

A multi-facetted reality

"Research into lone parenthood is still too often limited to the aspects of poverty and marginalization. But the reality of solo parents is more multi-facetted", explains the main organizer, Prof. Laura Bernardi, deputy director of the NCCR LIVES. She hopes the symposium will be an opportunity for "fruitful discussions to improve theoretical knowledge on the diversity of family types and empirical knowledge of the experience of single parents in terms of needs and resources". She hopes to be able to arrive at "suggestions how social policies can respond to this problematic."

There will be around fifteen presentations, with sociologists, demographers, psychologists and political scientists from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Poland, Hungary, the United States and Australia. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods will be represented in this program, and several studies are using longitudinal data.

The two keynote speakers will be Dr. Marie-Thérèse Letablier-Zelter, from the Economics Centre at the Sorbonne, University Paris 1, and Dr. Anne-Laure Garcia, researcher at the Marc Bloch Centre and at the University of Potsdam.

Public actions and family identity

Dr. Anne-Laure Garcia will give a lecture called "The Construction of Single Mother identity in French and German State-Orders", from her book Mères seules. Action publique et identité familiale (Single mothers. Public Actions and Family Identity), published in 2013 by Presses universitaires de Rennes, following the completion of her doctoral thesis. The researcher shows how legal and institutional factors affect the norms and the perception of individuals, in this case, single mothers.

This research is based on a structural analysis of narrative interviews conducted between 2008 and 2010 with women who became single mothers between 1977 and 1987, i.e. after abortion became legal and prior to German reunification. Anne-Laure Garcia has demonstrated how the state sector impacts how these women relate to motherhood: in East Germany, for example, the fact that jobs, housing and childcare were guaranteed allowed a degree of emancipation of single mothers, who were much more numerous than in West Germany, where the traditional role of women in the home was predominant. Single motherhood was also more readily accepted in East Germany than in France, where the concept of single mothers "on benefits" promoted a more negative image.

The comparison has led the researcher to define three processes common to all these situations: "the internalization of the universe of possibilities", "the structuring of expectations" and "the self-understanding in matters of external ascriptions". Parental identity is constructed in a context of overlapping with social policies.

Breaks and discontinuity

The lecture by Dr. Marie-Thérèse Letablier-Zelter will be on "Breaks and Discontinuity in Family Life: the Case for Single-Parent Families". She will deal with the problem of defining single-parent families and the broadness of the definition, when most children who grow up in this situation in fact have both their parents.

By reviewing the different types of families referred to as single-parent families, the researcher will differentiate several socio-economic-demographic profiles and will be looking at the different paths - temporary or sustained – of single parenthood. Not surprisingly, long-term situations of lone parenthood are generally those of single mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds. Finally, she will investigate the effects of single parenthood on parents and their children, on the management of co-parenting and on the status of the third parent in "non-traditional" families.

For Marie-Thèrèse Letablier-Zelter, the term "lone parenthood" is no longer suitable and can refer to different situations - either purely the physical aspect of where the children live, or the economic and social aspects of resources, or even the legal and educational aspects of parental authority.

The challenges of the new types of family

"In France, over half of children are born outside marriage. Therefore, marriage is no longer the basis for families. Although single mothers are no longer subject to moral stigmatization, we can still talk of social stigmatization, as the rate of poverty among this group is generally higher than among couples and it is more difficult for single mothers to access the labour market", states Marie-Thérèse Letablier-Zelter. She fears that "the trivialization of this type of parenthood leads to a lack of interest in the real socio-economic and legal challenges posed by the new family types".

Finally, the symposium will deal with other aspects of single parenthood, such as well-being, social networks, and the physical and mental health of the parents and also the social success of the children. These issues will no doubt flow into NCCR LIVES's thinking in its own current project on single parenthood.

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During UNIL’s open days NCCR LIVES will show the difference between commercial and scientific surveys

The University of Lausanne holds every year a public event called “The Mysteries of UNIL” mainly for kids aged 9 to 13. This time it takes place from May 22 to 25, 2014. The NCCR LIVES will welcome visitors at the stand No 12.

“WHO.R.U?” With this slogan and on the theme of the inner adventure, the University of Lausanne invites children with their class or family to discover who they are during the next “Mysteries of UNIL”, which is an annual manifestation where laboratories and research institutes present part of their work in a playful way.

Twenty-five activities compose the visit. The one proposed by the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES will first invite the participants to make the distinction between commercial and scientific surveys. Then the kids will have to turn into researchers and survey their classmates or relatives on the positive and negative events that may happen in different domains over the life course.

The NCCR LIVES based this activity on the observation that telephone surveys are becoming more and more difficult to conduct, because people are constantly solicited at home by incoming commercial calls. When children do their homework or at dinnertime, it is not uncommon to hear the phone ringing and upset parents answering that they don’t have time for that.

Surveys with a scientific aim

Yet all surveys do not aim at market research to sell insurances or soft drinks. The NCCR LIVES for instance conducts several surveys based on large samples of the Swiss population so as to better understand vulnerability processes and the resources that people mobilise to overcome it. These studies contribute to the development of public policies that meet new social needs.

From Wednesday 22 to Sunday 25 May about ten LIVES researchers, mainly sociologists and social psychologists, will relay one another to animate this activity with two students in social sciences. Come see us!

Photo AVAVA © iStock

The cautious introduction of parental leave in Switzerland highlights gender inequalities

In a thesis defended on 17 March 2014 at the University of Lausanne, Isabel Valarino focused on the past and current discourse surrounding progress made in the area of parental leave and paternity leave. Her analysis was enhanced by a case study of Lausanne City Council. The researcher demonstrated that the needs of employees and their families tend to be subordinate to those of employers and the economy. While motherhood is considered an intense and restricting responsibility, fatherhood is still regarded as a flexible, optional commitment.

How are developments concerning parental leave changing practices and representations of parenthood in Switzerland? Isabel Valarino has just been awarded her doctorate as part of the IP6 team at the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES. She has shown that, on the one hand, the practice of differentiating between motherhood and fatherhood is still rarely challenged, and, on the other hand, both theory and practice are dominated by economic considerations.

“I have never seen anybody put so much work into a thesis”, said jury member and professor of sociology and gender studies at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Linda Haas, when the thesis was defended. “It is innovative in several disciplines and is the first thesis to show such interactions between different levels”, added Gerda Neyer, professor of demography and family policy specialist at the University of Stockholm. Other jury members were Prof. Nicky Le Feuvre (UNIL), IP6 leader, and Prof. Laura Bernardi (UNIL), NCCR LIVES deputy director and thesis supervisor.

Paternity leave: not yet common practice, despite growing interest

In Switzerland, the issue of parental leave and paternity leave has attracted growing interest since maternity benefits were introduced in 2005. Nowadays the vast majority of male employees are granted one day’s leave by their employer for the birth of a child, but only a minority are entitled to several weeks' paternity leave. This makes Switzerland an exception compared to other European countries.

Isabel Valarino analysed the content and discourse of parliamentary proposals made between 1998 and 2011 on this topic, as well as relevant press articles. She complemented her research with a case study of employees working for Lausanne City Council, which, since 2010, has granted new fathers 21 days' leave to be taken within twelve months of the birth of their child. Register data allowed her to perform a statistical analysis of the 95 cases of employees affected by this law between 2010 and 2012. Of the men who made use it, she interviewed 22, as well as 8 managers who had encountered this kind of situation in their teams.

Employers’ interests take precedence

Her observations show that representations and practices of parenthood are changing, although they remain strongly influenced by gender divisions and the importance given to economic aspects. “With paternity leave, fathers become more involved in their children's lives. But they often anticipate their employer's expectations that they won't disrupt the day-to-day functioning of the company. And the division of tasks with their partners remains unequal”, explains Isabel Valarino.

The researcher found that only half of new fathers employed by Lausanne City Council took all of the days' leave to which they were entitled. What is more, the majority postponed a large part of their annual leave. Only 13% of men from her sample took all the days of both types of leave during one year. Employees with a high level of responsibility, those working part time and in predominantly female or mixed environments, as well as some employees with little seniority, have a greater tendency to forego part of their leave, which highlights how an employee’s professional context can influence whether or not he takes paternity leave. The majority of managers who were questioned confirmed that they felt that the interests of the organisation took precedence when leave dates were negotiated.

The central role of the mother

Through her interviews with young fathers, Isabel Valarino was able to identify several functions of paternity leave. The notions of supporting the mother and taking on domestic tasks are valued highly, as is childcare, with fathers often looking after older children. “All of them said that the central role of caring for the new-born baby still lies with the mother”, reveals the researcher, who noted that the men's role changed when they spread out their leave days after their partner had returned to work: “It is when they find themselves alone with the baby that they realise what it really involves…”

In spite of the differences she observed, the researcher still thinks that changes are taking place. In particular, taking paternity leave allows men to assert their status as fathers in the work environment, take some distance from their work and shift expectations. Furthermore, even though the principle of paternity leave as enshrined in federal law is not always on the agenda due to economic reasons and the endurance of very gendered views about how tasks should be shared between men and women, “ways of thinking are changing”, she says.

With this in mind, in addition to her thesis, Isabel Valarino wrote a report for Lausanne City Council in which she shared her findings in detail and put forward several suggestions for improving how paternity leave is implemented.

The next step: fathers taking leave without their partners

In order to continue her reflections on the development of practices and representations of parental leave, Isabel Valarino is now pursuing her research on fathers who have taken at least one month’s full-time leave to look after their child or children on their own. This study is part of the “Fathers on Leave Alone” project by the International Network on Leave Policies & Research, and is currently looking for participants.


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Social Investment: Lions facing the Matthew effect while dreaming of being butterflies

Several zoology and Bible metaphors were used during the international conference "Assessing the Social Investment Strategy", which was organised by and took place at the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP), with the support of the University of Lausanne and the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES. It was an opportunity for much rhetorical and theoretical jousting based on two central questions: how can the social state limit precariousness in a sustainable way and how can these efforts be measured?

The forty or so researchers who had come together to debate social investment policy in Lausanne from 10 to 11 April 2014 analysed, compared and questioned a lot. They left with no certainty but new ideas for their work, thanks to the different methods and perspectives to which they had been exposed.

"The discussions gave rise to more questions than answers, but the aim of this conference was not to provide a cookbook. It is an on-going academic debate. And we have to accept that research is not usually directly applicable", acknowledged the main organiser, Prof. Giuliano Bonoli, at the end of the event, adding that he was very happy with the exchange of ideas that had taken place.

At the opening of the conference he had emphasised the key question: "To what extent is social investment able to reach the most disadvantaged individuals in society?" This refers to the much-feared "Matthew effect", which takes its name from a verse in the Gospel of Matthew: "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken even that which he hath". This concept was ever present throughout the conference. It came up again during the final round-table discussion and no real answer was found.

An approach for universality

For some attendees, such as Gøsta Esping-Andersen, who gave a very well-attended plenary lecture on the first day, the solution was clear: "We should put money [i.e. from "social policies”] into kids: nobody could go to the stock market and get this kind of return!" One participant asked him how it could be ensured that the poorest individuals were really being targeted. "The upper class must be happy with the system of childcare in order to finance it ", replied the famous Danish sociologist, thus putting forward an initial approach.

However, not all speakers were convinced by this idea. For example, Bea Cantillon from the University of Antwerp still did not believe that social policy should prioritise social investment. Comparing social investment to lions, which are "dangerous for the weaker", she said she preferred elephants, which are "slow and protective", thus representing the welfare state. She added that there were also the butterflies, that she used to describe social innovation or, in other words, bottom-up activation policies. "But butterflies are too volatile... " "We should mix the three approaches", she concluded.

Over the course of the two-day conference, several discussions demonstrated the importance of the regional context, the limited scope for analysis based on the data available, and the difficulties inherent in evaluating the results of social investment when there is no real way to control for it. "We are trying to torture the data", acknowledged Giuliano Bonoli, making it clear that "research helps to develop indicators, and thus monitoring – for example, by extending the notion of the poverty line to the issue of social exclusion."

Measuring the non-investment

Despite the doubts and the unanswered questions, these two days of reflection did give rise to some certainties during the round-table discussion. "The countries that have invested have done better during the crisis", stated Lieve Fransen, Director, Social Policies and Europe 2020 at the European Commission. "By making cuts in the education sector, Spain is doing the contrary: it is a way for disaster in my opinion", she added. She also said that she hoped that research into social investment would provide policy makers with more instruments and measurements: "Measuring the non-investment would be an important area of work!"

Finally, what was the verdict on the original question about whether social investment can overcome the Matthew effect so that it is not just the most privileged people who benefit? The conference participants were cautious but there was an overall consensus. Some participants even suggested that granting benefits to the poorest people could be seen as a form of social investment, since without this, the children of these recipients would have a bleak future ahead of them.

All of the participants in the round-table discussion thus recognised that social protection and social investment complement each other and should not be mutually exclusive. Ludwig Gärtner, Deputy Director of the Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office, said mischievously "We need both elephants and lions. And we also support butterflies!" However, he reminded researchers to take into account countries' budgetary constraints and the strength of public opinion: "In Switzerland, there are very strong ideologies around family and early childhood", he warned.

Carrots and sticks

For the organisers there are still a lot of avenues to be pursued. "It is wrong to think that the only aim of social investment is to be cost-effective for the State. It also improves stability and social cohesion", points out Giuliano Bonoli. The professor admits that there are certain concepts that have still not received much attention from researchers and that, if examined, could lead to internal contradictions in the future, such as incentives for accessing social investment benefits: "Should we have sticks as well as carrots?" The debate continues...

Photo Felix Imhof

Swiss research into social sciences actively contributes to large international surveys

During the past months, Prof. Dominique Joye joined the methodology committees of three important international studies. The head of IP15, also a professor at the University of Lausanne and a researcher at the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS, explains the interest to be involved in such scientific endeavours.

“Contributing to a comparative international survey is something really exciting: to see where the same methodological problems arise, but also the way they differ depending on the context; in short, to think about essential issues that are at stake when aiming at quality studies in different countries, which will allow comparisons and therefore relevant data measurements.”

This is a profession of faith made by Prof. Dominique Joye, the leader of NCCR LIVES IP15, who was recently elected in the methodological committees of three international social science surveys:

According to Dominique Joye, who is also vice-dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Lausanne and a partner in the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS, there are many individual and collective reasons for joining such projects.

“The rapid access to data, which is specific to these international surveys, makes our scientific works become more cumulative”, as the researcher states. He refers for instance to the training of the new generation of academics: “For PhD students, it is easier to learn about the most advanced analytical techniques when there are comparable data available.”

Interest for Switzerland

From a Swiss point of view, Prof. Joye adds “it allows to situate itself in relation to other countries, to know about the state of art, and to identify specific patterns. It may relate to objective characteristics, like for example the proportion of women who are working part-time, as well as to subjective elements, like the way they live this situation.”

He also mentions other research questions, where there could be an interest in comparing Switzerland to other countries, such as social inequalities, xenophobic feelings, etc., so many issues that echo NCCR LIVES’ concerns.

“It is not bad at all to see Switzerland at the heart of these very large international surveys’ methodology”, the head of IP15 is delighted to say.

At a time when Switzerland is showing signs of pullback and when its participation in European research projects is being called into question, the news deserved at least to be shared.

Photo CEFutcher © iStock

Tackling inequalities at source or perpetuating them: social investment strategy debated

The aim of social investment is to prevent vulnerability by intervening right from the start of the life course. In the presence of very eminent experts in the field, an international conference and a round table discussion will assess this strategy, which is growing in Europe and elsewhere, but is still largely undeveloped in Swiss institutions and is also the subject of some criticism. The conference will take place on 10 and 11 April 2014 at the University of Lausanne.

Investing in the development of skills from early childhood enables the welfare state to significantly reduce its expenditure in the medium and long term: this is what the Nobel Laureate in Economics James Heckman calculated in 2009 on the basis of data from a famous experiment, The Perry Preschool Study. This longitudinal study, which was conducted on two groups of children starting in the 1960s, shows that, forty years later, those who received good quality pre-schooling have higher levels of education, more stable jobs and higher incomes, and less arrest records.

Esping-Andersen special guest

These findings corroborate the concept of social investment that has been developed since the 1990s by Gøsta Esping-Andersen. Currently a professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, he is one of the most quoted authors in the field of research on the welfare state and has taken part in numerous international organisations in order to bring this thinking into the political arena. But the views of the Danish sociologist also have their detractors. Facing some of these sceptics, he will be one of the keynote speakers at the “Assessing social investment strategy” conference organised by Prof. Giuliano Bonoli and four Swiss, French and Dutch colleagues on 10-11 April at the University of Lausanne (IDHEAP) with the support of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES. The other speakers in the plenary sessions will be Bea Cantillon (University of Antwerp), Anton Hemerijck (VU University Amsterdam) and Bruno Palier (Science Po Paris).

According to its advocates, social investment aims to promote social justice and responds to the need to reform the welfare state in the post-industrial context, as characterised by the rise in unemployment, changing family structures, female employment, migratory movements and the ageing of the population. In the research community, however, some argue that existing measures primarily benefit the middle class and reflect a utilitarian and accounting logic that aims to further increase tax revenues and reduce the costs of social protection rather than fostering genuine human development. One of the objectives of the conference is to allow researchers to compare these points of view based on empirical results, giving rise to around thirty presentations.

A new trend... except in Switzerland

Another interesting aspect of the event is that it will look beyond the strictly European framework to see what is happening on other continents, and finally bring the debate to Switzerland. Indeed, while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission have recently adopted positions that are very favourable to social investment, less attention is given to what is happening in this field in the rest of the world, and Switzerland does not seem particularly concerned. "Certain measures along the lines of social investment have been taken in some cities and cantons, particularly in the areas of early childhood and professional reintegration, but few political parties have made it a central feature of their programmes", says Prof. Bonoli. At the Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office (OFAS), the head of the Research and Evaluation sector confirms that this subject is not on the agenda and no studies are currently being conducted into it.

The conference will conclude with a round table discussion, which will include contributions from figures from various political, administrative and academic spheres, at both the Swiss and European levels. Views on social investment ranging from enthusiastic to cautious and critical will be represented. OFAS Deputy Director Ludwig Gärtner will take part, which the organisers hope will provide a good opportunity for Switzerland to get involved in this debate.

"Women and children first"

One of the conference organisers, Prof. Bruno Palier, has been very active in advancing the cause of social investment in Europe, which, in 2013, resulted in the adoption by the European Commission of a Social Investment Package. This series of recommendations to the Member States for the modernisation of their social security systems underlines the importance of preparing populations for life’s uncertainties rather than simply dealing with the consequences. The researcher notes, however, that “for now, much more energy is put into monitoring budgetary restraint than into social investment projects".

He also cautions against the temptation to substitute social investment for social protection, which he considers to be complementary approaches. And responding to criticism, for example that the increase in the number of nursery places primarily favours affluent families, he reminds us that "to succeed, social investment must aim for universality, and, in the meantime, should target the poorest populations, giving priority to single mothers and migrants".

Image PickStock © iStock

Data collection on the life course of low-income households

The Vaud Department for Health and Social Action has commissioned the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES and the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS to conduct a study in order to gain a better understanding of developments in income instability in the canton, and to take this into account in future social policy reforms. Between January and April 2014, more than 800 households of Vaud residents will have been integrated into the longitudinal study of the Swiss Household Panel.

"Hard-to-reach populations are the ones we are most interested in!" Professor Felix Bühlmann has good reason to be pleased with the agreement signed in November 2013 between the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES, the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Science FORS and the Department for Health and Social Action (DSAS): thanks to this agreement, it has been possible to select around 800 families residing in the canton of Vaud to add to the sample from the Swiss Household Panel. Individuals on a low income are intentionally over-represented in this sample. Data collection will come to an end in April.

A quarter of inhabitants on low incomes

In the Lake Geneva region, it is estimated that 16.4% of people live under the poverty risk threshold (set at 60% of median income), whether they belong to the category of the working poor or whether they are recipients of welfare benefits. However, in addition, a quarter of the residents of Vaud receive a subsidy in order to pay for their health insurance, and can thus be considered as being on a low income. "The objective is to obtain a systematic and synthetic overview of how the situation of vulnerable individuals evolves in order to strengthen the support system. This objective is in line with the 2012–2017 legislative programme, which aims to focus on prevention," explains Judith Kühr, who is responsible for research at DSAS and for coordination between the government and the NCCR LIVES on this project.

This is the second oversampling exercise to which LIVES has contributed in connection with the Swiss Household Panel, led by the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Science FORS. The other experiment centres around young people between 15 and 24 who have been educated in Switzerland, two-thirds of whom are second generation migrants. In both cases, the focus is on populations who are generally under-represented in large surveys.

In addition to the questionnaire on the household as a whole, which is conducted by telephone or face-to-face, each individual member of the family is then invited to fill in a "life calendar". This tool makes it possible to track the trajectories they have taken in different domains, including work and health. The part reserved for relations with the institutions has been slightly adapted in the case of the Vaud oversampling exercise, in order to gain a more detailed overview of the links between the respondents and each welfare service provider: social services, unemployment services, disability insurance.

Long-term follow-up

The Swiss Household Panel (SHP) intends to re-interview the same people every year in order to be able to trace their development. A first sample has been ongoing since 1999 and a second since 2004. The third SHP sample, collected since 2013 with the help of LIVES, provides a life course perspective and focus more on the issue of vulnerability. Several of the 14 LIVES projects have added questions, and are waiting for the data collected by the polling institute MIS Trend so that they can carry out their analyses.

The canton of Vaud is expected to receive an initial report at the beginning of 2015, then another after each wave of the survey. This collaboration between a government body and academic research centres is a positive development: "We have set the objectives together, and we have come to compromises in order to adapt ourselves to a different approach, a different time frame," states Professor Felix Bühlmann. From a methodological point of view, oversampling is a challenge, as it means that certain observations have to be weighted. This experiment will therefore not only provide the authorities with information, but will also lead to scientific progress.

Photo cnythzl © iStock

Social sciences research and social media: false enemies that must be brought together

The presence of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES on social networks is growing. In what ways can these new forms of media be useful for academic research, and what are their target audiences?

Like a seed sprouting after a long winter, the NCCR LIVES audience on Facebook and Twitter has recently started to emerge with the appointment of a young "Community Manager", namely Fiona Friedli. In one month, the number of followers has grown by about 40%, bringing together people from all walks of life. In the research community, however, the issue is still far from being resolved and plenty of reservations remain.

At the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES, we believe that social networks are useful tools for the transfer of knowledge that has been generated. As pointed out by communication sociologists Philippe Breton and Serge Proulx, “web users do not focus exclusively on what they are looking for a priori, but let their curiosity take them around different parts of the information environment”. The challenge is therefore to grab their attention through concise information so that readers can then be directed to more substantial content.

Promoting research

The objective of the LIVES communications team is to promote the work of the Centre’s researchers and to provide information to stakeholders and the general public. The links posted on social networks can refer to events, scientific publications, outreach papers or more generalist press articles about research.

Unlike other means of communication, social networks like Twitter or Facebook have a “pollinator” effect: when information affects one person, this person can pass it on very quickly to his or her own network. Thus social media may be seen as information channels that complement the other tools we already use to communicate both inside and outside the University.


But this view is by no means unanimous in the academic world. Recently in Le Monde CNRS researcher Sylvain Deville expressed disappointment that, unlike the Anglo-Saxon countries, French researchers are often hostile to the use of social networks for relaying academic information, even though at an institutional level more and more research centres and laboratories have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

It seems to us that the lack of legitimacy affecting social networks also applies more generally to all non-scientific communication media. Which raises other issues: is it desirable to disseminate scientific research widely, and in order to do so to sometimes simplify the content of research?

Scientist and citizen

In regard to this point we refer to a debate by sociologists Cyril Lemieux, Laurent Mucchielli, Erik Neveu and Cécile Van de Velde, the latter also being very active on Twitter. This discussion - “The sociologist in the media: sharing and distorting?” - addresses the issues relating to the presence of sociologists in the media sphere, from the point of view of the sociologist as both a scientist and citizen.

Erik Neveu notes for example that while media coverage of Sociology is currently growing and that this may present some risk of manipulation or diminishing of scientific language for researchers, it also allows “the introduction into social debates of elements of objectification of questions and formulation of research questions that can stave off simplifications, the false clarity of common sense, and the well-framed arguments of lobbies or institutions who have a hidden agenda."

Dialogue with society

The sociologist adds that "this duty to speak also comes from the fact that we have the privilege of being able to conduct often exciting research thanks to taxpayers." While subtly drawing attention to some areas of tension which researchers have to address, Erik Neveu invites them to take on this demanding challenge: to make themselves heard in the media and society.

Conscious of these issues, and in accordance with the mandate of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the management of the National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES intends to promote dialogue between the academic world and society at large: politics, economy, institutions, associations and media. A task to be achieved through collaboration between the Centre’s researchers and for which it is preferable to increase the number of communication channels.

To follow us on social networks


Photo Felix Imhof

Prof. Gilbert Ritschard invited at Summer School on Longitudinal and Life Course Research

From August 25 to 29, 2014, the 4th Summer School on Longitudinal and Life Course Research will be organized at the VU University in Amsterdam. NCCR LIVES Head of IP14 will share a methodological workshop on sequence analysis with Prof. Cees Elzinga. He's also the co-editor of a recent book on Data Mining with Prof. John J. McArdle.

This Summer School introduces participants to the main theories and methods in the field of longitudinal and life course research. It includes lectures and discussions led by top researchers in their respective fields. Examples are drawn from a wide range of longitudinal data sets. Computer lab sessions develop practical skills on multilevel modelling, event history analysis and sequence analysis.

It is organised by the VU University Amsterdam, the International Centre for Lifecourse Studies (ICLS), the European Association for Population Studies (EAPS) and the Society for Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies (SLLS),

The faculty for the Summer School 2014 includes: Mel Bartley (ICLS); Francesco Billari (Oxford); David Blane (ICLS); Cees Elzinga (VU Amsterdam); Aat Liefbroer (VU Amsterdam & NIDI); Karel Neels (Antwerp); Dimitri Mortelmans (Antwerp); Matthias Richter (Halle); Gilbert Ritschard (Geneva & NCCR LIVES).

Prof. Gilbert Ritschard, head of LIVES IP14, will conduct a 1-day workshop with Prof. Cees Elzinga. In the morning, they will address the theoretical aspects of sequence analysis. In the afternoon, Prof. Ritschard will train the participants on TraMineR, which is the methodological package currently developped within LIVES for longitudinal data mining.

Prof. Ritschard recently edited Contemporary Issues in Exploratory Data Mining in the Behavioral Sciences with John J. McArdle, Senior Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California.

Prof. Ritschard will also lead a methodological workshop on October 8, 2014 prior to the next SLLS conference at the University of Lausanne (October 9-11, 2014).

More information on the Summer School on Longitudinal and Life Course Research can be found on the attached flyer or on the Summer School website.

A LIVES PhD Student wins an award at the congress of the Swiss Society of Gerontology

A LIVES PhD Student wins an award at the congress of the Swiss Society of Gerontology

Stefanie Spahni got a prize of 2500 Swiss Francs for the best poster during the SSG biannual congress on January 30-31, 2014 at the University of Fribourg.
LIVES members Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello and Michel Oris gave the opening, respectively the closing scientific talks.

The Swiss Society of Gerontology 2014 annual congress addressed “Experience, Prepare and Accompany Transitions”. This was a very “life course” topic and an opportunity for LIVES members to present their research.

LIVES-Doctoral Student Stefanie Spahni from the University of Berne and working for IP12 and IP13 was awarded for her poster entitled « Verwitwung im Alter damals und heute" (Bereavement in Old Age Back Then and Now). Together with her co-authors, Professors Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello and François Höpflinger, she compares data of bereaved individuals belonging to two cohorts (1979 and 2011) with regard to their reported problems following spousal loss.

Her analysis shows that the level of psychological and physical health of elderly widowed persons is globally the same today as it was thirty years ago regarding people of the same age. Like in 1979, depressive symptoms still concern more women than men.

However, elderly women were suffering more of loneliness in 1979 than in 2011. Nowadays, women report this feeling less than men. Comparing the two periods, the most significant difference is the reduction of financial problems, which occurs for both men and women.

The SSG congress brings together academics, politicians, chiefs of administrations, and NGO representatives. Prof. Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello, head of IP12 and Stefanie Spahni’s supervisor, gave one of the opening talks on “Biographical Transitions: Old Models, New Contents”. Prof. Michel Oris, LIVES co-director and head of IP13, did the closing lecture on “Transitions and Vulnerabilities in the Old Age in Switzerland: Results of the VLV Survey”.

Image Thinkstock

Spring cinema season on the theme of life course

In collaboration with the film-clubs of UNIL and EPFL and the National Film Archive, the NCCR LIVES organises a series of screenings during the Spring 2014. The launching will take place at the movie-theater Le Capitole in Lausanne on February 26. The following sessions will happen alternately at UNIL and EPFL. LIVES researchers will be present to stimulate debate. See the full list of movies. FREE ENTRY


  • Wednesday 26 February – 20:30 (cocktail from 19:30)
    Movie-theater Le Capitole, Lausanne
    Mr. Nobody
    Belgium, France, Canada, Germany – 2009 – 139’ – original English version with French subtitles
    By Jaco van Dormael
    Starring Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger
    Nemo (Jared Leto), last human being to die of natural causes, remembers his pasts. Actually following an emotional trauma, the main character seems to have taken several paths, which led him to different places and kinds of existence.
    Introduction to the theme of life course: Laura Bernardi, NCCR LIVES Deputy Director
  • Wednesday 5 March – 17:30
    UNIL Unithèque 4215
    The Ballad of Narayama
    Japan – 1983 – 130’ – original Japanese version with French subtitles
    By Shohei Inamura
    Starring Ken Ogata, Sumiko Sakamoto, Takejo Aki, Tonpei Hidari, Seiji Kurasaki
    A 69-year old woman must resign herself to follow the tradition of climbing the Narayama - the "oak mountain" - in order to die up there. She is however still in very good shape...
    Discussant : Dario Spini, NCCR LIVES Director
  • Wednesday 12 March – 17:30
    EPFL Polydôme
    Big Fish
    USA – 2003 – 125’ – original American version with French subtitles
    By Tim Burton
    Starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman, Helena Bonham Carter, Marion Cotillard
    A dying man tells his life in the form of bizarre and fairy tales to his son, who thinks he is a liar. But are these stories really lies? Here everything is a matter of imagination and proportions.
  • Wednesday 19 March – 17:30
    UNIL Unithèque 4215
    Story of the cat and the moon (animation)
    Portugal – 1995 – 6’ – French version
    By Pedro Serrazina
    A poem, a story of silence and complicity. Shadow and light, the call of the night, the moon for passion... The story of dreams that come true.
    Lisboetas (documentary)
    Portugal – 2004 – 100’ – Portuguese version with English subtitles
    By Sérgio Tréfaut
    A moving musical documentary on the immigration wave that changed Portugal at the turn of the century. "Lisboetas" is an open window on new realities: ways of life, rights, religious practices, identities. A journey to an unfamiliar city.
    Discussant : Ana Barbeiro, LIVES PhD Student
  • Wednesday 26 March – 17:30
    EPFL Polydôme
    Murarz (short film)
    Poland – 1973 – 18’ – original Polish version with French subtitles
    By Krzysztof Kieslowski
    Starring Jozef Malesa
    The movie shows the vision of a Polish man facing communism after Staline's death, period called "the destalinisation process". It tracks his hopes and his disillusionments, caused by the totalitarian regime and a will for emancipation.

    Poland – 1975 – 72’ – original Polish version with French subtitles
    By Krzysztof Kieslowski
    Starring Juliusz Machulski, Michal Tarkowski, Wlodzimierz Borunski
    Romek, a 17-year old youngster, is hired as a taylor in an opera house. Through his eyes we take a look behind the scenes. A good exemple where Kieslowski re-create reality, fiction becoming the perfect loophole to show life and its foibles, without risking to really confront it.
  • Wednesday 2 April – 17:30
    UNIL Unithèque 4215
    Sean (documentary – short film)
    USA – 1970 – 14’ - original American version
    Following Sean (documentary)
    USA – 2005 – 87’ - original American version with French subtitles
    By Ralph Arlyck
    Starring Ralph Arlyck, Sean Farrell
    In 1969 in San Francisco, Ralph Arlyck films a little 4-year old kid. Sean talks about his daily life in a hippie family, surrounded by people hooked on amphetamines. Thirty years later, the film director traces back the boy and shoots the man he has become. But things have turned out differently than expected.
    Discussant : Pierre Bataille, LIVES PhD Student
  • Wednesday 9 April – 17:30
    EPFL Polydôme
    Four Friends
    USA – 1981 – 115’ -  original American version with French subtitles
    By Arthur Penn
    Starring Craig Wasson, Jodi Thelen, Jim Metzler, Tom Donaldson, Michael Huddleston, Reed Birney, Julia Murray, Elizabeth Lawrence
    "Four Friends" is the story, sometimes funny sometimes tragic, of Georgia and her three buddies. All are in love with her and choose different ways to seduce her, thus impacting their own life course.
  • Wednesday 16 April - 17:30
    UNIL Unithèque 4215
    Dayereh (The Circle)
    Iran, Italy, Switzerland – 2000 – 90’ – original Persian version with French subtitles
    By Jafar Pahani
    Starring Nargess Mamizadeh, Maryiam Parvin Almani, Mojgan Faramarzi, Elham Saboktakin, Monir Arab
    The movie is about three former female prisoners's fate in Tehran. It addresses these women's difficulties, as they are subjected to the hierarchy and the rules of the Iranian society, which are symbolised by access or denied access to different areas of the city.
    Discussant : Hannah Klaas, LIVES PhD Student
  • Wednesday 30 April – 17:30
    EPFL Polydôme
    Monty Python: The Meaning of Life
    USA – 1983 – 107’ - original American version with French subtitles
    By Terry Jones
    Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
    Old employees of an insurance company rebel against junior newcomers who subjugate them. That is the opening scene of this crazy satire on life, from birth to death, through religion, mariage, and war...
  • Wednesday 7 May – 19 :00
    La Grange de Dorigny
    Screening of the short films and award ceremony of the Haut & Court film competition
  • Wednesday 14 May – 17:30    Presented by the film director
    UNIL Unithèque 4215
    Rodicas (documentary)
    Germany – 2012 – 53’ – original English version with English subtitles
    By Alice Gruia
    Starring Rodica Gruia, Rodica Grill
    After having immigrated to Sydney, Rodica Gruia and Rodica Grill became close friends. Both in their nineties, they live amazingly active lifes, alway chatting, shopping and going out to coffee shops or to the gym like teenagers. Two destinies full of spirit, energy and wisdom.
  • Wednesday 21 May – 17:30
    EPFL Polydôme
    Angst Essen Seele auf
    Germany – 1974 – 89’ - original German version with French subtitles
    By Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Starring Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin, Irm Hermann
    Emmi, a widowed cleaning lady aged more than 60, and Ali, a Morrocan immigrant twenty years younger than her, fall in love in Germany during the Sixties. Violent bias against them will soon produce effects...
    Discussant : Stephanie Glaeser, LIVES PhD Student
  • Wednesday 28 May – 17:30
    UNIL Unithèque 4215
    The Devil and Daniel Johnston (documentary)
    Great Britain – 2005 – 110’ - original British version with French subtitles
    By Jeff Feuerzeig
    Starring Daniel Johnston, Mabel Johnston, Bill Johnston
    Portrait combining archives and recent images of Daniel Johnston, who was an American damned artist, songwriter and cartoonist suffering from manic depression.