Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30-19:20
RC11 Sociology of Aging (host committee)

Language: English

Never before in history have so many grandparents spent so much time and resources on supporting and influencing the younger family generations. Grandparenting today takes many diverse forms and cannot be reduced to a small number of ‘types’. Grandparenting has evolved considerably, and continues to evolve, as a result of both socio-demographic and economic influences, and not in the least, grandparents’ own agency. It is important to take a comparative approach to the study of grandparenting in order to tease out the impacts of context (especially cultural and welfare state contexts) on grandparents and their families. Despite the extensive cultural, economic and social differences between diverse contexts, they share important commonalities: grandparents are increasing in number, and they are becoming more central both within families and the societies that they live in. 

This session is for papers that address the unprecedented phenomenon of increasing numbers of grandparents worldwide co-existing and interacting for longer periods of time with their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the 'middle generation(s)'. Papers on topics that have so far received relatively little attention (for example, but not limited to: transnational grandparenting, influence of ICTs on grandparenting practices, LGBT grandparenting, great-grandparenting, and deeper understanding of gender differences in grandparenting practices) are particularly welcome. The session will ideally span a wide range of cultural, welfare state and economic contexts and highlight both regional features and worldwide trends in grandparenting. Both conceptual/theoretical and empirical papers (using any suitable methods) are welcome.

Session Organizer:
Virpi TIMONEN, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Oral Presentations
A Tale of Two Cities in Canada: Immigrant Grandmothering in St John’s and Ottawa
Peruvemba JAYA, Department of Communication,University of Ottawa, Canada; Marilyn PORTER, Department of Sociology Memorial University, Canada
The Composition of Grandparental Childcare: Gendered Patterns in Cross-National Perspective
Lyn CRAIG, The University of Melbourne, Australia; Myra HAMILTON, University of New South Wales, Australia; Judith BROWN, University of New South Wales, Australia
Grandfathers As 'family Savers': Class and the Nordic Welfare State
Hanna OJALA, University of Tampere, Faculty of Social Sciences, Finland; Ilkka PIETILA, University of Tampere, Faculty of Social Sciences, Finland
Borrowed Grandfathers – If Men of Older Age Care
Birgit BLÄTTEL-MINK, Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, Germany; Luigi WENZL, Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Stepgrandparent-Stepgrandchild Relationships. Emotional Closeness and Frequency of Contact in Childhood and Adulthood
Anja STEINBACH, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; Merril SILVERSTEIN, Syracuse University, USA
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