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Complexities of elder livelihoods : changing age-inscriptions and stable norms in three villages in rural West Africa

Title data

Häberlein, Tabea:
Complexities of elder livelihoods : changing age-inscriptions and stable norms in three villages in rural West Africa.
In: Anthropology & Aging. Vol. 39 (2018) Issue 1 . - pp. 33-47.
ISSN 2374-2267

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official title
Project's id
Generationenbeziehungen und innerfamiliäre Ressourcenflüsse in Westafrika: Ein Vergleich Benin – Togo
No information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Abstract in another language

The intergenerational contract seems to be a dominant social norm of senior care all over the world, in which older adults are cared for reciprocally by those for whom they have cared. Yet in three villages in northern Benin and northern Togo, this intergenerational norm seems to be breached, with older adults living alone and in poverty. However, standardized surveys from a comparative research project established that kin groups do not abandon their older adults, if one considers the kin group to be containing classificatory children instead of the nuclear family with biological children and remittances to substitute for daily care. This article argues that the apparent contradictions between the intergenerational contract and the actual practices of providing care in old age are not so stark. The creative living arrangements of older adults in response to social changes of migration do not challenge the intergenerational contract, but instead are the ways of fulfilling it. The analytical concept of age-inscription (see Alber and Coe in this issue) helps to explain the gap between discursive norms and individual creative solutions of senior care. The social norm of the intergenerational contract persists through new age-inscriptions.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: West Africa; elder care; migration; housing, intergenerational support
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Chair Social Anthropology
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2018 07:17
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2022 12:57