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Intergenerational support and reproduction of gender inequalities: a case study from Eastern and Western Germany

Intergenerationale Unterstützung und die Reproduktion von Geschlecherungleichheiten: eine Fallstudie aus Ost- und Westdeutschland
[working paper]

Klärner, Andreas; Keim, Sylvia

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Abstract Social support is often described as an exclusively positively acting factor. Its absence is said to mean negative consequences for individuals. This article shows that the supply and dependence of inter-generational social support can have negative consequences and pertains to persisting unequal gender roles and a gendered division of labor in relationships. Based on qualitative interviews, conducted in eastern and western Germany, with young adults (28-30 years old) and their parents, we hypothesize, that the bigger supply of inter-generational support of grandparents for their children and grandchildren and an alleged dependence on these transfers is especially responsible for impeding the modernization of traditional role models assigning women to the role as a mother and housewife. However, less availability and dependence on this kind of social support in eastern Germany, contribute to a more flexible form of role allocation in a relationship.
Keywords social support; Intergenerational relations; parent-child relationship; division of labor; gender-specific factors; gender role; role image; partnership; family structure; old federal states; New Federal States; Federal Republic of Germany; east-west comparison
Classification Family Sociology, Sociology of Sexual Behavior; Women's Studies, Feminist Studies, Gender Studies
Method empirical; qualitative empirical
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
City Rostock
Page/Pages 38 p.
Status Published Version; not reviewed
Licence Basic Digital Peer Publishing Licence