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.