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Session Overview
RN13_01d_P: Intergenerational Relationships and Kinship Networks I
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Irena Juozeliuniene, Vilnius
Session Chair: Riikka Homanen, University of Tampere
Location: PD.4.36
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: D, Level: 4.

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Analysing family from the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu’s social class theory. Closeness and distances within families non-homogenous in terms of social class

Katarzyna Dębska

Warsaw University, Poland

[theme RN13_m][short abstract]

Family is often described as a 'basic cell of society' which unites people. I would like to discuss family as a much more complicated occurence existence in a broader social context. A family does not have to be a homogeneous in terms of class, and and owned capital of individual members may together greatly vary. My research is inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s theory. In my presentation I would like to question the popular thesis that members of one social class do not have contacts with representatives of other social class. On the contrary, family becomes a sphere in which there is a chance to gather members of one family who belong to different classes. Family ties, objective institutionalized relationships of kinship and affinity, create a situation of specific closeness between people whose class positions may be diverse. Moreover, experiences of advance or declassing affect a family as a whole and alienate relatives or complicate their relations. Family obligations may veil the reality of difficulties in being together as a family in such a situation.

I would like to discuss preliminary results of my study which allow me to answer following research questions:

How does family environment respond to advance/declassing? How do family members manage situations which reveal the fact of inconsistencies in their habituses? Can family solidarity be built despite such differences?

Data for my analysis was gathered using the method of autobiographic narrative interviews and observations. Interviewees were members of the same families; owing to such a way of constructing particular case studies I gained access to various perspectives of individual family members.

Family ambivalence and grandparental care. Longitudinal evidence of mothers’ and fathers’ accounts

Ulrike Zartler, Eva-Maria Schmidt, Irene Rieder, Cornelia Schadler, Rudolf Richter

University of Vienna, Austria

Care work in families often relies on grandparents providing support for their children by caring for their grandchildren. The study presented here indicates that this inclusion of grandparents into care work may be a source of family ambivalence for the middle generation. Relying theoretically on the family ambivalence concept and including aspects of a configurational approach, this study concentrates on the transition to (grand-)parenthood.

We concentrate on the following research questions: How do first-time parents’ accounts about grandparental care develop over time? Which aspects of ambivalence are inherent in these accounts? Which strategies do parents develop in dealing with ambivalence?

The study was conducted in Austria and comprises multiperspective longitudinal accounts from both parents, collected by means of qualitative in-depth individual interviews with first-time mothers and fathers at three points in time: pre-birth (last trimester of the pregnancy), six months and two years after the birth (n=66 interviews). Detailed case reconstructions and comparative analyses were carried out.

Results showed that mothers’ and fathers’ expectations with regard to grandparental care were unclear, idealized and contradictory. We identified several distinct types of ambivalence with regard to grandparental care and a variety of strategies in dealing with ambivalences. These strategies varied over time and were not necessarily consistent among both parents. Overall, results indicated that ideals of (‘appropriate’) care and ideals of family relationships played a major role in parents’ constructions of their intergenerational relationships with grandparents and their handling of grandparental care.

The effect of economic wellbeing on the exchange of intergenerational support

Paul Teodor Haragus, Mihaela Haragus

Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Romania

RN13_m: Intergenerational relationships and kinship networks

Family solidarity has distinct motivations and manifestations in different social strata and the socioeconomic status influences the intensity of intergenerational solidarity. We can approach downward intergenerational solidarity from the perspective of status reproduction: parents invest in their children through intergenerational transfers to avoid their downward social mobility. Most approaches (altruism, reciprocity, or status reproduction) suggest intense instrumental support in families with lower socioeconomic status.

Our intention was to investigate how social mobility is supported through intergenerational relations. For this we used data from Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) Wave1, for Bulgaria and Romania, focusing on three forms of support provided to family members: financial, emotional and instrumental. We used a synthetic index of material wellbeing, combining income and expenditure approach: total household income, two indicators of the ability of household to make its ends meet, the evaluation of the household ability to overcome financial difficulties and the satisfaction with the housing.

Analysis of data for Romania and Bulgaria shows that intergenerational solidarity seems to function distinctly in different social strata. We showed that in higher status families there is more financial support to an adult child (in both countries), but for the emotional support the effect was found only in Romania. In Bulgaria, higher status families are less likely to offer instrumental support to their descendants. Regarding upward intergenerational transfers, we showed that higher status families provide more financial and emotional support to their parents and less instrumental support.

Family social capital during the labour market transition: Inequalities and Mechanisms

Mattia Vacchiano, Joel Martí, Lidia Yepes Cayuela

Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona, Spain

Abstract (theme RN13_m]”):

In the past decades, several scholars have shown how contacts help job seekers to find a job, particularly focusing on two mechanisms: the transmission of information about job opportunities (information flow) and the contacts intermediation during the process of recruitment (influence flow). Although the “strength of weak ties thesis” associates family ties to worse occupational attainment, these ties are still an important source of resources for labour market transitions of youth, especially in a Southern European context. Consequently, we analyse the complex and variegated support provided by kinships in this process, in order to understand through which mechanisms the family, as social capital, generates economic inequalities among social groups. Drawing on social capital theory, in this presentation we use quantitative and qualitative data from a study of 250 young adults aged 20–34 in the Barcelona metropolitan area, in order to explore the role played by family resources in the labour market. The results show that these resources are mobilised in all social groups, but relevant differences among them regarding the extent and type of mobilised resources can be identified; differences that contribute to the intergenerational reproduction of occupational inequalities.

This research is part of a project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Innovation through grant CSO2012-36055 conducted by the Centre d’Estudis Sociològics sobre la Vida Quotidiana i el Treball - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. We also elaborate this research in the context of INCASI Network, a European project (Horizon 2020; Marie Skłodowska-Curie, 691004) coordinated by Dr. Pedro López-Roldán.


family, youth, labour market, social capital, social networks, strong ties

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