Conference Agenda

RN04_07b: Lived experiences of generational relations
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Federico Farini, University of Northampton
Location: GM.328
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road
Time allocation: 8' presentation directly followed by 2' consecutive discussion on the paper presented, and at the end of the session 10' general discussion of all papers presented in the session.


The Role of Social Stratification In The Childhood Life Of Generation Z

Elena Kolosova

Russian State Children's Library, Russian Federation

The eventfulness of the new generation depends on many characteristics of the historical situation (primarily an ineffective social family policy, process of informatization, the formation of consumer behavior patterns, the childhood industry etc.). Innovative methods and analytical schemes of the research results allowed us to describe the determinants of the childhood events of 2000-2010, based on the inequality of society, and to assert that they potentially provoke contradictions within the juvenile groups. A survey of young people to determine the age of the most important events of childhood was hold in 2018 (N 774). The study of the transition from childhood to maturity showed that the age of the end of childhood depends on stratification: children from poor families “childhood ended” at 12.6 years (average age), in families of average wealth at 13.8 years, in rich families at 13,4 years. Practices of everyday life of the children themselves, family, parental behavior models also depend on the socio-economic situation of families and resources of the places of residence where they grew up. Poor children earlier than children from middle-income and high-income families go to the grocery store to buy groceries and household goods; walk in the yard without an escort; move independently (to school, to grandmother, etc.) in a locality, city. On the other hand, they later than their peers began to engage in community, received their nominal document (award), did a tattoo, piercing; went on a diet. With a marked independent mobility, they are limited to travel to another city, terrain and abroad. Interestingly, respondents from poor families noted that teenage conflicts with their parents also began later.

Being a Grandchild: Meanings, Practices, and Experiences with Grandchildhood

Adéla Souralová

Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Given the demographic changes in Western countries, specifically the increasing life span, grandparents have emerged as potentially significant figures in family life. The roles of grandparents and grandchildren become more important as the long-lasting intergenerational relationships across three or even four generations are increasingly common. While the research on grandparenthood is booming, researchers have paid little attention to the meanings, experiences, and practices of grandchildhood as seen from the perspective of grandchildren. How do the grandchildren make sense of grandchildhood? How do they reflect upon the relationship with their grandparents? What does it mean to them to be grandchildren? The paper answers these questions, drawing upon in-depth interviews with grandchildren living in three-generation households (age 16-26). This paper elaborates the notion of ‘grandchild practices’ (drawing upon ‘family practices’ proposed by Morgan, 1996) and focuses on the minutiae and mundanities of everyday life that shape the role of a grandchild in early adulthood and retrospectively in childhood. In the context of three-generation households, four dimensions of grandchildhood are key: everyday grandchildhood, direct grandchildhood, caring and cared grandchildhood, and teaching and learning grandchildhood. These dimensions are examined to show the active role of grandchildren in negotiating intergenerational and family relations.

Coming Of Age With Asthma: Chronic Illness As Accelerator In Acquiring Autonomy?

Aline Chassagne, Veronika Duprat-Kushtanina

University of Besançon, France, LASA

Epidemiological studies describe a propensity for asthma to decline during adolescence (Akinbami et al., 2011), its beginning (12-14 years) and its end (18-21 years) being considered as critical points in the care pathway. Sociological perspective concentrates on the logics of action of adolescents collecting their experiences, discourses as closely as possible (Corsaro, 2018; Diasio, Vinel, 2017). To explore these issues, a group of sociologists and anthropologists is conducting a mixed-methodology study in France. The quantitative study explores 120 trajectories of persons aged from 12 to 21. The qualitative study analyzes the experiences of 15 children.

In-depth analysis shows that children develop skills in asthma management in terms of self-administration of treatment, body techniques, risk management. Even if they are helped by their parents and professionals, the adults’ objective is to make them, as they say, responsible and autonomous. Children are expected to conform themselves to care trajectories elaborated by professionals and parents, their capacity of playing by these rules is seen as a sign of maturity (Mayall, 1994). A recent study showed that the young with a mental disease do not really access the statute of adult (Eideliman, 2012). As it comes to physical sickness, this issue seems to have never been treated. We will thus question whether having a chronic illness might work as an accelerator in coming to age, if proving one’s maturity through managing the disease has an impact on gaining autonomy in other everyday life choices (leisures, studies, housing, etc.). And on the contrary, if being seen by parents and professionals as incapable of managing one’s disease can be an obstacle to the access to autonomy.

Institutionalized Childhood as Barrier to Fitting in while Transitioning to Adulthood

Maria Roth, Imola Antal, Agnes David-Kacso, Eva Laszlo Bodrogi

Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

This research discusses the topic of boundaries impeding social inclusion of young adults with childhoods marked by institutionalization. As part of the SASCA Project (“Support to adult survivors of child abuse and neglect”, the Romanian team interviewed 45 young people (19-35 of age) who spent their childhood in child protection care-settings in Romania. They told stories about their childhoods marked by traumatic experiences due to chaotic environments, lack of emotional and social support, and various forms of abuse perpetrated by other children, by family members, educators and other professionals.

The objective of this presentation is to highlight their efforts of fitting in in the period of transitioning to adulthood, and reflect on the effects of the victimization experiences. Disclosure of being rejected and abused were followed by reflections about becoming aggressive, revengeful, angry, distrustful, solitary and secluded, or eventually powerful and persistent. Interviewed young adults define their identity as different compared to their peers raised in their own families, and identify themselves as being different (“others”). Our interpretation is based on the conceptualization of 'othering' (Spiviak, 1985; Powell & Menendian, 2016): young adults with childhood experiences in residential care have built their own identity by incorporating otherness and seeing themselves as incomplete (sub)human beings, without the rights to be protected or to express pain. Listening to their stories and recognizing their suffering is a first step on the road to regain their dignity and to strengthen their selves.

Studying Parental Mediation of Children’s Internet Use as a 'Tangible' Part of Socialization: An Eight-Years Perspective on Barriers versus Belonging

Veronika Kalmus

University of Tartu, Estonia

Parental mediation of children’s internet use, defined as ‘regulatory strategies that parents introduce to maximise benefits and minimise risks for their children’ (Kirwil, Garmendia, Garitaonandia & Martínez Fernández, 2009) in their online lives, enjoys an increasing attention as an interdisciplinary research field. This paper, by looking beyond a narrower focus used in media and communication studies, addresses parental mediation as an empirically tangible part of broader patterns and dynamics of socialization and intergenerational relations. Particularly, restrictive and monitoring mediation strategies (rules and restrictions) tend to match authoritarian parenting style and 'barriers' in parent-child interaction, while active mediation (help and guidance) corresponds to supportive family atmosphere and 'belongingness'. The analysis is based on two waves of the cross-national EU Kids Online survey, conducted in 2010 and 2018 among 9-16-year-old children and their parents (N=1,000 in each country). The paper focuses on one of the surveyed countries – Estonia – that has experienced remarkable technological and social transformations during the last decades. By looking at comparable indicators of parental mediation (active mediation, restrictive mediation, technical restrictions, and monitoring), asked from children as well as their parents, the paper aims at delineating main trends in Estonian parents’ practices and strategies of (media) socialization. Preliminary analysis indicates the increased prevalence of technical restrictions as well as active mediation, according to both children's and parents' answers, evidencing (1) the rising level of parents’ online safety awareness and digital skills; and (2) the continuing struggle between different, often contradictory, socialization values and parenting paradigms (such as old, child obedience-oriented, and new, child autonomy-oriented ones).

How do Family Relations Alter the Relationship Between Parent-to-Child Physical Violence and Adolescent-to-Parent Physical Violence?

Laura Beckmann

Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, Germany

The present contribution examined the extent to which beneficial and hazardous family relationships altered the relationship between childhood exposure to parent-to-child physical violence and self-reported physical adolescent-to-parent violence (APV). Current levels of perceived family cohesion, family conflict, and interparental violence were assessed as moderators. Based on data from 2,490 ninth graders who took part in a large school survey in the federal state of Lower Saxony, Germany, results showed that parent-to-child physical violence was positively related to APV. Family cohesion buffered detrimental effects of parent-to-child physical violence on physical APV, while family conflict exacerbated this link. Specifically, parent-to-child physical violence had weaker effects on APV for students who reported greater levels of family cohesion, while stronger effects were observed for students who reported greater levels of family conflict. In sum, APV, and the role of family relationships deserve greater attention in discourse about lasting, adverse effects of childhood exposure.

Partecipate to Planning: Children Thinking Together for Urban Design

Antonella Berritto, Rocco Mazza

Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy

Becoming an adult-centered and anti-democratic social space, the contemporary city is a resource and a bond for social action. More specifically, the city represents a limitation in the biographical development of the child, violating their right to citizenship. The theme of the relationship between the child and the urban environment urges us to look at childhood as a social category on a par with all others and to rethink the urban planning discourse on city planning practices. The study starts from a recognition of what social research techniques can create, among the participants of the research, a theater of democracy that promotes participation and cooperation, respecting the child's own freedom as a person, and the expression of one's opinion. In this sense the thinking together of children was necessary, because on the individual and collective level it allowed them to assume critical and responsible attitudes. Through an mixed methods approach, aimed at the convergence of the experience of children, we have tried to restore the creativity and the evaluation of the protagonists of the research, considered as "future citizens". In conclusion, the work aims to bring out, also, the methodological solution that is implemented through the activity of participatory planning: the activation of a preparatory phase of mutual learning and convergence of meanings of the protagonists. In fact, with regard to the communicative aspects in the participatory planning processes there is an understanding of the different languages and the acquisition of a perspective that includes the other, important for involving the child in a dialogue on his / her own city.

Exploring Children’s Experiences, Barriers and Boundaries in the City and (Re)Imagining Children’s Places

Eunice Castro Seixas1, Benedita Portugal Melo2, Catarina Tomás3, Maria Fernandes-Jesus4, Paulo Castro Seixas5

1University of Lisbon, ISEG, CSG, Portugal; 2University of Lisbon, Instituto de Educação, Portugal; 3Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa; CICS.NOVA.FCSH NOVA, Portugal; 4Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CIS-IUL, Portugal; 5University of Lisbon, CAPP, ISCSP, Portugal

Recent sociological research on childhood has emphasized children’s agency and autonomy as social actors, who interpret and experience places differently from adults. Nevertheless, children are seldom heard in matters of urban planning. Consequently, some of the public places designed for children are not appropriated by them as their own, making these "places for children", but not "children's places". These discrepancies are related to boundaries between children’s and adults’ living experiences and place-making processes. They can also be understood as barriers (both symbolic and material) to children’s access to the city, or as restrictions to children’s social and cultural rights, namely their "right to the city". However, cities are also, by their spatial and relational characteristics, potential contexts for promoting children's’ rights and empowerment (a rising number of child-friendly cities initiatives, as well as participatory and inclusive urban planning are examples of this). It is in this dialectic relation between restriction and possibility that CRiCity project tries to analyze the condition of childhood in the city, from an interdisciplinary perspective anchored in the work of Urban Studies, Sociology of Childhood, and Public Administration. We present preliminary findings of our analysis of children’s experiences and sense of place, including their own notions barriers, boundaries and belonging, in various urban public spaces in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Diverse child-centered methodologies, as well as ethnographic observation are used, including techniques that focus on the children’s imagination of the ideal neighborhood, park or city to grasp children’s aspirations of belonging.

Note: The presenting author will be Eunice Castro Seixas. Authors have all equal merit in this communication and are presented by alphabetic order.