1st Edition

Family, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Post-Traditional Society

ISBN 9781138240339
Published June 22, 2017 by Routledge
310 Pages

USD $58.95

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Book Description

Almost all families will at some time have to make difficult decisions concerning aging family members, involving institutionalization, moving from medical interventions to palliative care, and even physician-assisted death. Yet, the historical transition from traditional to post-traditional society means that these decisions are no longer determined by strict rules and norms, and the growing role of the welfare state has been accompanied by changes in the nature of family and social solidarity. Advances in medical technology and greatly expanded life spans further complicate the decision-making process. Family, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Post-Traditional Society examines a range of difficult issues that families commonly face during the family life course within these contexts. The book explores both practical and ethical questions regarding filial responsibility and the roles of the state and adult children in providing financial and instrumental support to dependent parents. The book follows the experiences and deliberations of a fictional family through a series of vignettes in which its members must make difficult decisions about the treatment of a seriously ill parent. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students in family studies, gerontology/aging, sociology, social work, health and social care, and nursing will find this essential reading.

Table of Contents

1. Changing Intergenerational Family Dependence

2. The Ties that Bind? Changing Family Options 

3. Socializing the Financial Support of the Elderly 

4. Manufactured Risk and Reproductive Technology 

5. Where Will We Put Mimi?

6. Mandatory Support of Aging Parents

7. Respect for Autonomy: Difficult Decisions Concerning Medical Care

8. Family Decisons at the End of Life

9. Physician Assisted Death 

10. Civil Society and the Family 

11. The Future of Intergenerational Solidarity

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Ronald J. Angel is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jacqueline L. Angel is Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.


'Finally, a critical, accessible and contextual analysis of the rhetoric of ‘families have changed and family care is at risk’. Angel and Angel take a contemporary American family on a journey of recreating their relationships and of caring for older family members. This book is a lovely gift to students preparing themselves for careers in family gerontology.' - Norah C. Keating, Swansea University, UK

'Family, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Post-Traditional Society addresses practical choices required at crucial stages of family cycles, considering them as moral and ethical dilemmas that arise in various social and economic circumstances. In very accessible language it articulates theoretical contributions and presents evocative vignettes and stimulating discussions. It is recommended reading for social scientists, students, and lay audiences alike.' - Blandine Destremau, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France

'Who cares for elders? Because our nation and government prize independence, the responsibility largely falls to families, especially children. Families must marshal and deplete private resources, be resigned to marginal care, or shoulder it themselves. In many states, children are even legally obligated to provide it. Families know little about how to navigate the continuum of care, but along the way must confront big decisions with big consequences. The Angels sound an alarm for the U.S.—and provide an indispensable guide to this precarious process.' - Richard Settersten, Oregon State University, USA

'Family, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Post-Traditional Society addresses rapidly evolving moral and ethical dilemmas that individuals in different types of families must face in the absence of traditional rules. This book will be of great value in courses in family sociology, gerontology, medical sociology ethics, the social impact of medical technology, and others.' - Kyriakos S. Markides, University of Texas, USA