Kinship and Cohort in an Aging Society
From Generation to Generation
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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In 1970 I had just completed my fi rst year of graduate school and won a schol-arship to the University of Southern California’s Summer Institute of Ger-ontology. It was a fi ne time, with many new experiences for me. One I remem-ber most clearly was meeting a new assistant professor who had just joined the faculty, Dr. Vern Bengt son. Everyone was very pleased that he had accepted USC’s off er. They were especially excited about his special area of interest: ...
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The editors are grateful to Retirement Living Television, the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology and College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, and the John Templeton Foundation for their fi nancial support of the conference from which most of the chapters in this volume were derived. In addition, great thanks go to Linda Hall, whose assistance in preparing manuscripts was invaluable to us, and to Norella Putney for her last-...
Introduction. Solidarity as a Key Concept in Family and Generational Research
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The fi rst line of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel Anna Karenina reads “all happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” (Tol-stoy, 2004). Whether taken wryly or at face value, this dual view of family life rings true but is knowingly simplistic; almost all families manifest both posi-tive and negative sentiments and indeed may shift from happiness to unhap-piness and back again. Even families that are outwardly cordial and otherwise ...
PART I. FAMILY CONNECTIONS: SOLIDARITY WITHIN AND ACROSS GENERATIONS
The solidarity-confl ict theoretical perspective includes seven dimensions along which intergenerational relationships may diff er including aff ectual solidarity (emotional closeness), consensual solidarity (attitude similarity), functional solidarity (the exchange of instrumental and emotional help and support), normative solidarity (feelings of family obligation), associational sol-idarity (frequency of contact), structural solidarity (geographic proximity, ...
1 Differences in Mothers’ and Fathers’ Parental Favoritism in Later Life: A Within-Family Approach
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In this chapter, we report on work that incorporates several dimensions of complexity in intergenerational relations. First, instead of comparing a sin-gle parent-child relationship between families, the research described here investigates how parents’ relationships with individual children within the same family diff er. Using a unique data set that includes parents’ assessments of relationships toward all adult children, we focus on how individual relation-...
2 Intergenerational Solidarity in Blended Families: The Inequality of Financial Transfers to Adult Children and Stepchildren
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The dramatic increase of blended families over the past four decades has introduced new contexts for studying the dynamics of parent-child rela-tionships in aging families. The growing diversity of family arrangements in-cludes those who are related by marriage, birth, or adoption and those who join existing families voluntarily through remarriage (Ahrons, 1994; Marks, 1995) or as a result of intergenerational linkages (e.g., as children of a remar-...
3 Generational Contact and Support among Late Adult Siblings within a Verticalized Family
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Since discussion of the isolated nuclear family and the modifi ed extended family began in the 1960s, most empirical intergenerational family studies have focused on the structural and functional changes in the parent-child re-lationship. The verticalization of the family structure added an extra push to this direction in the discipline. The focus of the studies on sibling relation-ships has been quite diff erent, however. These studies, very limited in number, ...
PART II. GRANDPARENTS IN A CHANGING DEMOGRAPHIC LANDSCAPE: MOTHERS AND MENTORS
Recent demographic changes in longevity, fertility, and family formation have infl uenced the status and role of grandparents. In 1900 only about 50% of young adults had a living grandparent compared to about 90% in 2000. In addition to a decline in fertility over this same time, patterns of fertility, marriage, and cohabitation have grown increasingly complex. Mul-tiple partner fertility, when men and women have biological children with ...
4 Grandmothers’ Differential Involvement with Grandchildren in Rural Multiple Partner Fertility Family Structures
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Multiple partner fertility (herein referred to as MPF) involves men and women having biological children with more than one partner, fre-quently in the context of nonmarital romantic relationships (Carlson & Furst-enberg, 2006). This fertility pattern creates diverse, complex, and transient multigenerational kinship networks that have quickly become one of the most prevalent extended family forms in America (Guzzo & Furstenberg, 2007; ...
5 The Role of Grandparents in the Transition to Adulthood: Grandparents as “Very Important” Adults in the Lives of Adolescents
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Demographic shifts over the past century have increased the percentage of grandchildren who have living grandparents, and these historical changes are especially impressive for young adults. For example, in 1900 about half of all 20-year-olds had at least one living grandparent; in 2000, 90% did. For 30-year-olds, these chances increased from 21% to 75% (Uhlenberg, 1996, 2004). Heterogeneity of the grandparenting role has notably increased across ...
PART III. OF GENERATIONS AND COHORTS: MICRO-MACRO DIALECTICS
One of the most vexing methodological problems in the study of aging and the life course is trying to tease apart age, period, and cohort eff ects. An age eff ect is change that occurs as a result of advancing age; a period eff ect is the impact of a historical event on an entire society; and a cohort eff ect is social change that occurs as one cohort replaces another. It is not possible to disentangle all three eff ects. Adding to this conundrum is that researchers ...
6 Who’s Talking about My Generation?
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The problem of generations, from mankind’s earliest writings down to con-temporary mass media accounts, involves the tension between continuity Following one of the key themes of Vern Bengt son’s long scholarly career, this chapter considers the theoretical concept of “generation” as it has been used in the social and behavioral sciences (see Bengt son, 1989). A lot has been written using the concept(s) of generations, and nearly everyone agrees ...
7 Toward Generational Intelligence: Linking Cohorts, Families, and Experience
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Each age has its landscape, its atmosphere, its cities, its people . . .Rarely have societies witnessed a “silent revolution” of such signifi cance as population aging. Longer life spans and fewer births are transforming the age structure of societies from a triangle, with a few older adults at the top and an ever-larger number of younger people fanning out below them, into a rect-angle with, until the very extreme of late life, roughly equal numbers of people ...
8 Biography and Generation: Spirituality and Biographical Pain at the End of Life in Old Age
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Spirituality and Biographical Pain at the End of Life in Old Age Families, generations, and relationships have been at the center of the study of aging as long as it has been as a recognized area of scientifi c study. So-cial scientists from a variety of disciplines have long been preoccupied with the connectedness of human beings from the primary social units called fami-lies through to those called communities and those called nation-states. They ...
PART IV. RELIGION AND FAMILIES: CONTEXTS OF CONTINUITY, CHANGE, AND CONFLICT
Engaging the family solidarity paradigm, the authors in this section exam-ine the role of religion in family and institutional settings and the inter-generational and social network processes embedded within these contexts. The two empirical studies in this section also reveal how religion often serves as the framework for understanding a family’s or an individual’s unique racial Achenbaum takes a historical-institutional perspective with respect to the ...
9 How Theory-Building Prompts Explanations about Generational Connections in the Domains of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging
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Few gerontologists have pursued theory-building with as much enthusiasm and insight as Vern Bengt son. Several generations of colleagues and stu-dents share his appreciation of the importance of taking theory-building seri-ously in advancing science. Researchers in aging understand the value of theo-ries in identifying interesting questions and in setting boundaries. They recognize that a rigorous commitment to using the right lens to “see” the in-...
10 The Transmission of Religion across Generations: How Ethnicity Matters
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How does racial, ethnic, or cultural heritage relate to the continuity of a religious tradition in multigenerational families? Have religious trans-mission patterns changed over time and between generations in ethnic fami-lies, particularly between today’s youth and their elders? The long-term pro-cesses of assimilation and acculturation in the United States suggest that the passing on of a religious tradition from great-grandparents or earlier genera-...
11 Church-Based Negative Interactions among Older African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, and Non-Hispanic Whites
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There is a long history of research and scholarship on the importance of family and religion in the lives of African Americans (Billingsley, 1992, 1999; Hill, 1999; Taylor, Chatters, & Levin, 2004; Taylor, Jackson, & Chatters, 1997), and an emerging literature has begun to investigate the intersection of religion and family (Chatters & Taylor, 2006). One major intersection be-tween religion and family is found in research examining family and church-...
PART V. GLOBAL, CROSS-NATIONAL, AND CROSS-ETHNIC ISSUES: WHO WILL CARE FOR THE YOUNG AND THE OLD?
Although there are disparities among countries in population aging, with some developing countries still considered young and some developed countries deemed to be old, these diff erences will not last long, as the speed of demographic change is increasing. The demographic transition, as well as globalization of the econonomy and transnational migration, has implications for who will care for the young and the old in an aging society. ...
12 Global Aging and Families: Some Policy Concerns about the Global Aging Perspective
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The concept of global aging has recently become widely used in social ger-ontology. This chapter reviews the concept of globalization, critically ad-dresses the political undertones of the general policy discourse about global-ization and aging, suggests some major consequences of global aging for families, and calls for an expansion of current thinking about families and aging to accommodate not only globalization but also the politics underlying ...
13 Social Change, Social Structure, and the Cycle of Induced Solidarity
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Recently, the cover of the New York Times Sunday magazine featured a Fili-pino woman with the caption, “200 million migrants worldwide sent home $300 billion last year.” The article, entitled “A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves,” describes how families are simultaneously sustained economi-cally and strained socially and emotionally by the absence of a parent who is participating in the rapidly growing arrangement of transnational labor migra-...
14 The Intergenerational Social Contract Revisited: Cross-National Perspectives
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I dare say that if we passed through life backwards, adults would insist on Population aging is a global phenomenon. In what Bengt son and colleagues (2003) call a “population explosion” and what Myers (2007) calls a “third demographic transition,” older people the world over are growing more nu-merous and living longer. With strong expectations of early retirement in de-veloped nations (Kääriäinen & Lehtonen, 2006; Doling & Horsewood, 2003; ...
15 Aging, Health, and Families in the Hispanic Population: Evolution of a Paradigm
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The “multiple hierarchy stratifi cation” perspective emerged as a distinct paradigm in the 1970s that viewed ethnic minority status as a source of inequality on par with other sources of inequality based on social class, gen-der, and age (Bengt son, 1979). Specifi cally, ethnic minority status was thought to converge with low social class, female gender, and old age to produce a con-fl uence of inequality at the lower end of the stratifi cation continuum. A clus-...
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Vern L. Bengt son earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under the guidance of Bernice Neugarten and Robert Havighurst in the Committee for Human Develop-ment. Bengt son’s fi rst and only academic post was at the University of Southern Cali-fornia in the Davis School of Gerontology and the Department of Sociology. While at USC, Bengt son established one of the most long-term research and training programs ...
List of Contributors
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Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 23 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013