Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States
Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Chiara Saraceno
Chapter 11: Intergenerational Solidarity and Social Structures in Sweden: Class, Ethnicity and Gender in Public and Private Support Patterns
Ulla Björnberg and Hans Ekbrand INTRODUCTION A recurrent theme in contemporary societies is to what extent social solidarity in society and within families has been inﬂuenced by developments within the political economy at large. There are several reasons at both structural and personal levels which have brought the theme to a forefront in sociopolitical debates, for instance, changes in demographic structures, migration patterns at a global level, transformation of gender relations and increase in cohabitation, divorce and separation with possible weakening of cohesion in family relations. Questions are raised about the likelihood that individuals support family members in vulnerable situations and also about their willingness to do so. It has also been argued that the ﬁnancial dependencies and family obligations regarding interfamily support have been reduced due to extended support by the welfare states. Behind this reasoning is the assumption that the institutionalisation of various support systems has made family support redundant or at least contributed to changed attitudes about family commitments. Several studies, however, have indicated that intergenerational support is still important in families, although the motivations might vary among diﬀerent strata of the populations (Kohli 1999; Attias-Donfut and Wolﬀ 2000a, 2000b; Gulbrandsen and Langsether 2000; Bawin-Legros and Stassen 2002; Brannen et al. 2005; Hellevik 2005; Björnberg and Latta 2007; Björnberg and Ekbrand forthcoming). In previous research on the impact of family forms on support patterns within kin and between generations in Sweden, we found that willingness to enter into support exchanges are strongly...
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