1st Edition

Intergenerational Family Relations
An Evolutionary Social Science Approach

ISBN 9780367479022
Published January 13, 2020 by Routledge
194 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

This book offers a synthesis of social science and evolutionary approaches to the study of intergenerational relations, using biological, psychological and sociological factors to develop a single framework for understanding why kin help one another across generations. With attention to both biological family relations as well as in-law and step-relations, it provides an overview of existing studies centred on intergenerational relations – particularly grandparenting – that incorporate social science and evolutionary family theories. This evolutionary social science approach to intergenerational family relations goes well beyond the traditional nature versus nurture distinction. As such, it will appeal to scholars across a range of disciplines with interests in relations of kinship, the lifecourse and the sociology of the family.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Boxes



1. Cooperative breeding species

2. Theories on intergenerational relations

3. Structure of intergenerational relations

4. Factors related to intergenerational relations

5. Grandparents and parental childbearing

6. Grandparents and child wellbeing

7. Grandparent wellbeing

8. What about aunts and uncles?

9. An evolutionary social science approach


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Antti O. Tanskanen is Senior Researcher in the department of Social Research at the University of Turku, Finland.

Mirkka Danielsbacka is Senior Researcher in the department of Social Research at the University of Turku, Finland.


"This book is of interest to all family scholars but in particular those scientists seeking to understand better the complexities of intergenerational relations. The real pleasure in reading this book is that it challenges one’s traditional thinking about intergenerational relations. I strongly recommend it to all family scholars but particularly those seeking new ideas."

- Ann Buchanan, Professor Emeritus, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, UK.

"In a rapidly aging world, the contributions that grandparents make to children, and the pleasures that they derive from making those contributions, are hot topics of research and discussion in the social sciences. In this timely review and synthesis of what anthropologists, demographers, evolutionary biologists, historians, psychologists, and sociologists have separately discovered about grandparents, Tanskanen and Danielsbacka provide an invaluable resource for workers in all these fields, as well as for those struggling to bring evidence-based practice to social work and other applied areas."

- Martin Daly, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, Canada.

"It is only fitting that social scientists from the homeland of Westermarck should be the first to blend biological and social science approaches to the study of intergenerational relations and the family. Tanskanen and Danielsbacka show how theories from social science and biology are complementary and can be seamlessly blended together to organize and explain findings from the study of intergenerational relations, plus generate new hypotheses for further studies. A must read for anyone with an interest in the study of intergenerational relations and the family."

- Rosemary L. Hopcroft, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, USA.

"This ambitious book provides an inclusive synthesis concerning studies on intergenerational relations among humans. Reading this book will strongly benefit all biologists and social scientists working with family relations."

- Virpi Lummaa, Professor, Department of Biology, University of Turku, Finland.

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