Eric D. Widmer

Eric D. Widmer
University of Geneva | UNIGE · Department of Sociology

PhD Sociology

About

324
Publications
58,609
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
3,610
Citations
Introduction
I am a professor at the the Department of Sociology of the University of Geneva, and a member of the board of directors of LIVES (https://www.lives-nccr.ch/en). My long-term interests include intimate ties,family and other interpersonal relations, life course research and social networks. I have been developing a configurational perspective on families. I am the author of various books and articles. See my website for additional information: http://www.edwidmer.org/
Additional affiliations
September 2007 - present
University of Geneva
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2002 - September 2007
University of Lausanne
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (324)
Article
The configurational studies of this special issue trace complex patterns of interdependencies existing among family members and beyond households. They focus on the functional connections among spouses, children, siblings, and other relatives living in a variety of households. The main goal of this special issue is to reveal how some key decisions...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have shown that family networks evolve over time. Nonetheless, little research has linked family expansion or shrinking to the levels of available family-based social capital in older adults’ family networks. To address this research gap, this paper explores the following question: to what extent are changes in family composition a...
Article
Full-text available
This research focuses on ambivalence in family networks and presents a framework for investigating how triadic configurations, beyond specific dyads, may affect individual outcomes such as well-being. First, the paper introduces the ambivalent triad census, counting the frequencies of 18 non-isomorphic triads in which ties can be positive, negative...
Article
Individual life courses are marked by residential mobility often associated with family and workplace changes and therefore likely to be related to the types of personal relationships people develop and maintain. Evidence about the relationship between residential mobility behaviours over the life course and personal network composition is however...
Article
Full-text available
Personal network overlap and joint social contact of spouses have positive implications for social support and marital quality. Although these collective aspects of marriage constitute a valuable resource for couples, the factors impacting them during the later stages of life are underexplored. When faced with critical role losses in later life one...
Article
This article examines how residential trajectories influence the spatiality and composition of personal networks. Three mechanisms are considered: the addition of spatially close network members, the selection of spatially distant network members, and the substitution of spatially distant network members by spatially close ones. An ego-centred netw...
Article
This article investigates the association between personal networks and stress, both positively through support and negatively through conflict. In a representative sample of 755 individuals residing in Switzerland, each individual was asked to name people in their lives who they perceived as very important, as well as to report their mutual suppor...
Article
Objectives: The present study set out to investigate associations of cognitive reserve (as indicated by education) and relational reserve (as indicated by the family network size and indices of emotional support) to decline in executive functioning over six years as measured by changes in Trail Making Test (TMT) completion time in older adults and...
Book
Full-text available
Ce rapport, mandaté par la Commission cantonale de la famille, est une synthèse des informations et des connaissances existantes, à ce jour, sur les facteurs familiaux générateurs de vulnérabilité pour les enfants à Genève. Son objectif est de présenter ces facteurs et de décrire certaines des réponses institutionnelles mises en place. Basé sur une...
Article
Full-text available
Cet article est basé sur une enquête réalisée auprès de huit cents personnes habitant en Suisse, nées dans les années cinquante et septante. Il conjugue une approche sociométrique qui quantifie les relations sociales des individus avec une analyse des parcours de vie, ce qui permet d’observer non seulement l'effet des transitions de vie, mais aussi...
Article
Full-text available
Der vorliegende Artikel basiert auf einer Umfrage unter 800 Personen, die in der Schweiz wohnen und in den 1950er bzw. 1970er Jahren geboren sind. Er quantifiziert die sozialen Beziehungen der Befragten und stellt sie in den Zusammenhang ihrer Lebensverläufe. Dadurch lässt sich beobachten, wie sich zeitlichen Übergänge auf das Leben der jeweiligen...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Childhood misfortune is associated with late-life depressive symptoms, but it remains an open question whether adult socioeconomic and relational reserves could reduce the association between childhood misfortune and late-life depressive symptoms. Methods: Using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), data from...
Article
Full-text available
Same-sex registered partnership, marriage, and adoption open up the family as an institution to same-sex couples and, therefore, constitute a pathway to a broader definition of what is family. In the last 2 decades, a majority of Western countries have experienced an unprecedented institutional trend toward the provision of new rights to same-sex c...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals develop personal networks in a cumulative way over the life course, with early adulthood being a critical period with multiple transitions relating to family formation and entry into the labour market. Existing research on personal networks and the life course usually stresses the impact of single life transitions and events on the comp...
Article
Une relation coparentale soutenante est au coeur de la cohésion familiale, celle-ci constituant un contexte de développement favorable pour l’enfant. Nous connaissons encore peu la relation coparentale entre parent gardien, souvent la mère, et son nouveau partenaire dans les familles recomposées, et en quoi cette relation ressemble (ou non) à la re...
Article
One of the fundamental challenges for neuropsychological aging research is how to maintain and promote cognitive functioning in old age. Previous research revealed that an active lifestyle, social participation, and emotional support during adulthood seem to be protective against cognitive decline in old age. However, up to now, a detailed examinat...
Article
Full-text available
This Review develops a theoretical framework for the development and onset of vulnerability in later life based on the concept of reserves. We stress the advantages of using the concept of reserves in interdisciplinary life-course studies, compared with related concepts such as resources and capital. We enrich the definition of vulnerability as a l...
Article
This research presents various narratives about family configurations of middle-class women living in Geneva (Switzerland). The results are drawn from qualitative interviews of 22 women and mothers of a child aged between 6 and 13, who were part of a larger sample of female respondents from both first-time and stepfamilies. The research features fi...
Article
Full-text available
In later life, changing conditions related to health, partnership, and economic status may trigger not only support but also conflict and ambivalence, with the consequent renegotiation of family ties. The aim of this study is to investigate both conflict and emotional support in the family networks of older adults, taking the research beyond the le...
Preprint
It is often assumed that partnership quality is positively associated with the amount of timecouples and families spend together. However, little about this link has been demonstrated empirically. This study investigates how time spent with the partners, children, parents, siblings, friends, and acquaintances is associated with partnership conflict...
Article
Coparenting between biological parents is a strong predictor of child adjustment. To date, however, little is known about the coparenting dynamics between parent and stepparent in stepfamilies. This study aimed at exploring the links between coparenting in the mother-stepfather dyad and child behavior in stepfamilies compared with the links between...
Chapter
The main aim of this chapter is to compare the social capital structures produced by personal networks in Portugal, Switzerland, and Lithuania. On the one hand, we hypothesise that the type of social capital is primarily associated with the composition of personal configurations. On the other hand, we also expect that social capital structures are...
Chapter
The aim of this chapter is to map the variety of personal configurations by focusing on personal ties regarded as important. The configurational perspective emphasizes the inclusion of different kinds of close ties that go beyond kin, co-residence, and genealogical proximity in personal relationships. In order to identify the diversity of arrangeme...
Book
This book critically assesses the main features of the modernization of family life and personal relationships by examining and comparing three European countries with different social and political pathways: Portugal, Switzerland and Lithuania. Drawing on national surveys of family trajectories and social networks, the contributors highlight perso...
Article
p>This book critically assesses the main features of the modernization of family life and personal relationships by examining and comparing three European...</p
Article
Full-text available
There are concerns that migrants may be embedded in far-flung networks with support being less collective. The spatial dispersion of their relatives and friends would result in fragmented networks with lower solidarity and lower mutual trust than densely connected networks based on geographical proximity. This may be particularly true for migrants...
Chapter
Full-text available
Gerações, relações intergeracionais, política geracional. Um compêndio multilíngue - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Generații. Politici generaționale și relații intergeneraționale. Un compendiu multilingvistic - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Kuşaklar, kuşaklararası ilişkiler, kuşak politikasi. Çok dilli bir Rehber - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Generacije, međugeneracijski odnosi, generacijska politika. Višejezični kompendium - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Покоління (генерації), міжгенераційні відносини, політика міжгенераційних відносин. Багатомовний компендіум - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Generaciones, relaciones intergeneracionales, política generacional. Un compendio multilingüe - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Generacije, medgeneracijski odnosi, medgeneracijska politika. Kompendij v več jezikih - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Generazioni, relazioni intergenerazionali, politica generazionale. Un compendio multilingue - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Nemzedékek, nemzedékek közötti kapcsolatok, nemzedéki politika. Többnyelvű kompendium - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Generationer, relationer mellan generationer, generationspolicy. Ett mångspråkigt kompendium - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Kartos, kartų santykiai, kartų politika. Daugiakalbis kompendiumas - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Pokolenia, relacje międzypokoleniowe, polityka relacji międzypokoleniowych. Wielojęzyczne kompendium - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
Поколения, межпоколенческие отношения, межпоколенческая политика. Многоязыковой компендиум - Edition 2017
Chapter
Full-text available
代,代际关系,代际政策. 多语言版本 - Edition 2017
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the interrelationships between health-related quality of life and conflict structures in family networks of older adults. Data were derived from a sample of 2,858 elders (aged 65 years and older) from the Vivre/Leben/Vivere study, a large survey addressing family life and health conditions of older people in Switzerland. Conflic...
Article
Full-text available
This article stresses the critical role of family inclusiveness for shaping the spatiality of families. Some individuals have a rather exclusive definition of their family, focusing on partner, children, siblings and parents. Others develop inclusive definitions of family by considering extended kin, step relatives and friends as significant family...
Article
This article investigates the influence of personal networks on changes of occupational rates of men and women becoming parents. It discusses and measures the effects of various interconnected dimensions of network structures and compositions, such as density, degree of overlap between partners' networks, geographical distance between network membe...
Article
Full-text available
While research has stressed the positive aspects of compliance to social norms across the life course, little attention has been paid to the possible negative consequences of conforming to established norms and how such conformity may increase individual vulnerability. This review paper investigates the potentially misleading character of social no...
Chapter
Family change across societies is a complex issue that raised considerable debates throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Particular attention was given at the time to the unequal pace of family change according to countries or regions in the world, with a hypothesized similar turn to the dominance of the nuclear family in all national contexts, Western o...
Chapter
The family, and changes in the family, have been a subject of political and public debate and an topic of scientific research since the very inception of the social sciences. Changes in the family have been interpreted very differently according to time and place (Harris 2008). In all cases, several of the main paradigmatic approaches to sociology...
Article
p>This chapter has set out three different approaches to the study of family life: practice theory, historical contextualization, and narrative analysis. The choice of approach, of course, will depend on which aspects of family life are of interest—the everyday or whether the focus is over long stretches of a life’s course or across family generati...
Article
p>The goal of this book is to present a variety of empirical research on continuity and family change within the European space, with respect to three dimensions: family understanding or theorizing, family transitions across its individual life course, and family practices. Researchers from nine European countries investigate families, their concep...
Article
Full-text available
This article stresses the critical role of family inclusiveness for shaping the spatiality of families. Some individuals have a rather exclusive definition of their family, focusing on partner, children, siblings and parents. Others develop inclusive definitions of family by considering extended kin, step relatives and friends as significant family...
Article
p>Over the life course, individuals develop personal networks which provide essential resources - sporadically or on a daily basis - such as instrumental, emotional, and informational support. Those personal networks are composed of family (primary and extended kin) and non-family ties (friends, colleagues, acquaintances) (Pahl & Spencer, 2004). Th...
Article
p>This book critically assesses the main features of the modernization of family life and personal relationships by examining and comparing three European...</p
Article
Full-text available
Family relationships account for much of the support available to individuals with mental illness. Although some studies have acknowledged the importance of family support, and while others have underlined the harmful effects of negative relationships, research has seldom empirically considered the complex web of positive and negative relationships...
Article
Full-text available
p>This research explores patterns of family salience based on sociability and solidarity norms according to the institutional context. The data come from the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), from respondents living in four types of welfare regime countries: Mediterranean, corporatist, liberal, and social-democratic. Based on cluster anal...
Article
Full-text available
In the last years, University Fund Maurice Chalumeau (FUMC) launched a dynamic of research designed to promote scientific excellence and the development of Sexology with particular i nterest regarding sexual desire. The FUMC has supported a research project entitled «Neurobiological, psychological and sociological approach to sexual desire and sexu...
Technical Report
Full-text available
p>Les familles de milieu modeste résidant à Genève sont peu connues. Comment s'organisent-elles au quotidien ? D'où viennent-elles et par quels parcours de vie passent-elles ? Quelles représentations de l'enfant et quels projets à moyen ou long terme développent-elles ? Leurs réseaux de parenté et leurs relations amicales, voire leurs relations de...
Chapter
Full-text available
p>Les dernières cinquante années ont vu la réalité démographique de la vie en couple radicalement changer. Diverses évolutions démographiques témoignent de la pluralisation des parcours d'entrée en couple, et du poids décisif des ressources économiques et culturelles sur les fonctionnements conjugaux. Le modèle du mariage universel et précoce, préc...
Article
Full-text available
p>This study explores the ways by which family weness is shaped in later life, and how it relates to social capital, conflict and ambivalence. Data were derived from a sub sample of 578 elders (aged 65 and older) from the Vivre/Leben/Vivere ( VLV ) study, a large survey addressing family life and health conditions of older people in Switzerland. We...
Book
Inequality and integration have been sociology’s two key paradigms since the classics, associated with the names of Marx and Durkheim and Europe’s current economiccrisis has forcefully reinvigorated their joint relevance. Above all, the debt crisis has fueled the wheel of social inequality: cash-starved states are further forced to cutback on publi...
Article
p>La transition à la parentalité a été à maintes reprises annoncées comme une période de transformation fondamentale des relations avec les proches, touchant particulièrement les futures mères. De fait, diverses études montrent que les relations personnelles changent au cours de cette transition (Belskiy et Rovine, 1984; Power et Parke, 1984; Belsk...