9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN03 Biographical Perspectives on European Societies

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 The impact of the second world war on memory and generations Building II, C2.02

Cross-generational helping patterns

We are interested in what kind of helping patterns and kin solidarity between generations can be found in contemporary Finland. According to the interview material, there can be found several different types of helping patterns in contemporary Finnish society. In the analysis these has been condensed into three types of helping patterns, which are here called nuclear family, extended family, and family cluster model.

In the nuclear (with very few family members) family type assisting is quite limited. Help is mainly exchanged between the closest relatives, which here refer to parents and children. Helping situations are random and support is usually given in the case of acute need. Due to the irregularity of helping situations, the forms of assistance are restricted in a few types of help. In this model help is mainly given in one direction; from baby boomers to their parents and (grand)children.

In the extended family type help occurs on a broader scale. Help is exchanged between parent and their (grand)children as well as between siblings and in some extent between some others close relatives. In this model assistance is need-based but it is given regularly in many kinds of situations. The forms of help are quite diverse, including several types of practical help and financial aid. Help also goes more ? than in the previous type ? in both ways between relatives.

In the family cluster type help takes place on very wide scale of situations and it?s given on continuously basis. Help is exchanged between parents, children, siblings and other ? close and more distant ? relatives. Due to the diversity of helping situations, the forms of help are also very varied. They include several forms of practical help and financial aid. For this model it?s characteristic that help can also be highly organized between relatives.

What makes this interesting from a biographical perspective is that there are very different biographical patterns underlying all these models. We shall discuss in our paper these different patterns extracted from the in-depth interviews.