Yesterday’s grandparents and grandparents today

Eva Lelièvre, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Nicolas Robette, Università Bocconi

The objective of our paper is to analyse the dynamics of kinship relations across generations and along time. Using the retrospective data from the Biographies et entourage (event histories and contact circle) we can study and compare the relationships of the respondents with their grandparents mainly when they were children and their relationships with their grandchildren at the time of the survey when the respondents are 50 to 70 years old. Considering the generations involved, the childhood of the respondents took place from the 1930s to the 1960s, and half of them are now grandparents themselves. Having access to individual lineage data: the survey allows to combine here biographical time (individuals are in turn grandchildren, parents and grandparents) and historical time (the social context of these exchanges have evolved from the 1930s to the XXIst century). We will address questions such as: how involved were yesterday’s grandparents with their grandchildren and how does it compare with nowadays? What happens when family disruption (in any generation) complicates the relationships between generations? How does the attention they received from their grandparents when they were children predict the respondents’ behaviour toward their grandchildren?

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Presented in Session 5: Ageing and intergenerational relationships