Family, state, class and solidarity: re-conceptualising intergenerational solidarity through the grounded theory approach

Virpi Timonen, Catherine Conlon, Thomas Scharf, Gemma Carney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)
    222 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The relationship between class and intergenerational solidarities in the public and private spheres calls for further conceptual and theoretical development. This article discusses the findings from the first wave of a qualitative longitudinal study entitled Changing Generations, conducted in Ireland in 2011–2012, comprising 100 in-depth interviews with men and women across the age and socioeconomic spectrums. Constructivist grounded theory analysis of the data gives rise to the following postulates: (1) intergenerational solidarity at the family level is strongly contoured by socioeconomic status (SES); (2) intergenerational solidarity evolves as family generations observe each others’ practices and adjust their expectations accordingly; (3) intergenerational solidarity within families is also shaped by the public sphere (the welfare state) that generates varying expectations and levels of solidarity regarding State supports for different age groups, again largely dependent on SES; (4) the liberal welfare state context, especially at a time of economic crisis, enhances the significance of intergenerational solidarity within families. We conclude by calling for research that is attuned to age/generation, gender and class, and how these operate across the family and societal levels.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-179
    Number of pages9
    JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
    Volume10
    Issue number3
    Early online date04 Mar 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

    Keywords

    • Generation
    • Socio economic status
    • Constructivism
    • Recession
    • Welfare State
    • Ireland

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)

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