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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Interdependence In European families Seminar

Social Statistics and Demography
17 May 2013
Building 58 room 1009

Event details

CPC Seminar Series

Life course theorists have emphasized the need to recognize that people's lives are linked to others around them (Elder, 1994). Family members are 'fellow life travellers', people with whom individuals travel through life as if in a convoy. In families, a great deal of learning occurs, and members function as significant others from whom cues are taken and whose reactions are integral to decisions people make. Family members serve as resources available during times of need, but they are also recipients of help and care. Other life course scholars, particularly in Europe, have also emphasized that where people live affects how lives unfold (Mayer, 2009). Political systems, educational systems, labour market arrangements, housing markets, laws, entitlements, and social services in the country of residence contour the life course and structure interdependence. This presentation connects these two theoretical strands: the notions of 'linked lives' and 'lives in context'. It will address the dialectical interaction between (a) individual behaviour and choices (b) family practices and policy contexts. The concept of interdependence, which emphasizes the dynamic interplay between being embedded in a meso context of interconnected family ties and living in a macro context of policy arrangements will be elaborated. Examples from research on intergenerational family ties will serve to illustrate the usefulness of the concept of interdependence in studying families.

Speaker information

Pearl Dykstra , Erasmus University Rotterdam. Sociologist

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