Families, Ageing and Social Policy

Families, Ageing and Social Policy

Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Chiara Saraceno

This important book offers valuable insights into the way in which social policies and welfare state arrangements interact with family and gender models. It presents the most up-to-date research in the field, based on a variety of national and comparative sources and using different theoretical and methodological approaches. The authors address different forms of support (care, financial, emotional) and employ a bi-directional perspective, exploring both giving and receiving across generations. They illustrate that understanding how generations interact in families helps to reformulate the way issues of intergenerational equity are discussed when addressing the redistributive impact of the welfare state through pensions and health services.

Chapter 4: ‘When will I see you again?’ Intergenerational Contacts in Germany

Anja Steinbach and Johannes Kopp

Subjects: development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, family and gender policy, sociology and sociological theory, welfare states


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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