Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States
Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Chiara Saraceno
Chapter 4: ‘When will I see you again?’ Intergenerational Contacts in Germany
Anja Steinbach and Johannes Kopp INTRODUCTION In consideration of recent demographic trends, the historically unique longevity and the political discussions concerning social security and care for the elderly, it is apparent that the topic of intergenerational relationships is becoming more and more important – not only for politics, but also for social research. Therefore a lot of literature can be found regarding the diﬀerent aspects of intergenerational relations. A closer look at this research, however, reveals a number of limitations. First, most studies come from the ﬁeld of gerontology and focus on the relationships between (very) old parents and their children. Second, intergenerational relations are seldom the main focus of the used empirical surveys. This means that not all of the aspects of these complex relationships are captured. Third, most studies focus on descriptive results; theoretical and empirical explanations are often missing. In this chapter some steps will be presented which try to close these gaps. In the ﬁrst section of this chapter the discussion concerning the diﬀerent aspects or dimensions of intergenerational relations will be brieﬂy presented, revealing that intergenerational contact is not only one of the most interesting aspects of intergenerational relations, but also a precondition for most other dimensions of intergenerational relations. Also the empirical research on intergenerational contact – speciﬁcally for Germany – is considered here. In the second section new empirical data are presented, described and – in the third section – more deeply analysed. We close this contribution with some suggestions concerning further research on...
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