Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture

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Fabius, Laurent

b. 1946, Paris


Academically accomplished and urbane, Fabius joined the Parti Socialiste (PS) in 1974. Viewed as the ambitious 'spiritual son' of Mitterrand and his possible successor, he has been a député since 1978 and was Minister for the Budget in 1981-3 and Minister for Industry and Research in 1983-4. As prime minister in 1984-6, he symbolized Mitterrand's policy U-turn towards market liberalism, although he projected a technocratic image. He was president of the National Assembly from 1988 to 1992. He gained the leadership of the PS in 1992, but was ousted in 1993 following the party's electoral débâcle. His support for Jospin in the 1995 presidential election was somewhat lukewarm. He remains a leading Socialist.


See also: parties and movements

Major works

Fabius, L. (1990) C'est en allant à la mer, Paris: Éditions du Seuil (outlines his vision of modern socialism).
--(1995) Les Blessures de la vérité, Paris: Flammarion (attempts to take stock of the Socialists' experience in government).


The notion of the family has two interconnected meanings. The first, more restricted meaning of 'family' is the individuals who come together to form a home and is akin to the concept of household. The second refers to the kinship group-that is, those who share the same blood relatives. In the postwar period in France, it is the family as described in the first of these definitions that has undergone major changes.

During the first twenty years after World War II, a certain convergence of family forms took place in France around a model of early marriage and the married couple subsequently living together with two children independently from older generations. Prior to that, on the one hand, the peasantry and petite bourgeoisie in certain regions had tended to restrict their family size to one child, while on the other hand, the large family with four or more children had been common among working-class families in industrial regions. Furthermore, in the 1950s and 1960s, divorce rates were low, as were rates of employment for mothers of young children. Couples living together without being married were also an extraordinary and morally reprehensible phenomenon. However, the mood of the country at the end of the 1960s, and particularly after May


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