Intergenerational support as a reaction to socio-economic crisis: alteration of solidarity within precarious Romanian households

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Series Details Vol.20, No.1, February 2018, p111-130
Publication Date February 2018
ISSN 1461-6696
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This paper addresses the tensions arising from the intersection of norms and practices of support in situations in which intergenerational support is the main household strategy for coping with precariousness in Romania.

The paper describes competing meanings of solidarity and reveals gendered experiences of ambiguity with respect to the sustainability of help exchanges within the context of economic vulnerability. Romania displays high public acceptance of intergenerational support, while the country’s deficient social welfare system prompts families to intensify their help exchanges.

Findings based on in-depth interviews suggest that private arrangements are compounded by unbalanced help exchanges among generations. With the state and the community support directed towards lower social strata, these arrangements give rise to many tensions. Parents become excessively burdened by the constant obligation to help their adult children, while the children’s dependence upon their parents limits the opportunities to reciprocate.

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