Handbook on Society and Social Policy
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Handbook on Society and Social Policy

Edited by Nicholas Ellison and Tina Haux

This comprehensive Handbook provides a unique overview of the key issues and challenges facing society and social policy in the twenty-first century, discussing how welfare is conceptualised, organised and delivered in contemporary global society. Chapters engage with specific areas of social policy as well as with the social divisions and institutional infrastructures that underpin them. The Handbook also considers how social policy should respond to the challenges posed by austerity, human migration and the climate crisis.
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Chapter 11: Generations and the life course

Athina Vlachantoni and Yazhen Yang


The unprecedented population ageing trend has been recognized as a challenge as well as an opportunity for modern societies. With rapid changes in the demographic composition of societies and the structure of families, generations and the life course as a topic are crucial to everyday family life and of interest to policymakers and scholars globally. This chapter reviews existing evidence on different types and directions of intergenerational support exchanges within the UK and beyond, highlighting differences in cultural expectations and norms of exchange. A better understanding of the changing patterns in household size, living arrangements, financial resources, public and family care provision, and emotional support in developed and less developed regions contribute to challenging assumptions of a generational conflict or divide, and informing policies and practices which help to improve the well-being of current and future cohorts of older people around the world.

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