ERIC Number: ED254791
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov-20
Reference Count: 0
Old Ways in New Bodies: Handing Down Kinkeeping.
Troll, Lillian E.
The prevailing focus in gerontology is on services rather than relationships. Consequently we are less familiar with the prevalence of kinkeeping. In intergenerational family research, women as family kinkeepers have been described as the hubs of family solidarity, bringing their families together, corresponding with family members, and monitoring family members' behavior. There is no adequate explanation for these voluntary kinship ties. We do not know why the death of a kinkeeper in one family leads to gradual distance between family members, and in another to the inheritance of the role by a daughter or a granddaughter. Because families are arenas of reciprocal influences, kinkeeping is not a one-way service from kinkeeper to other family members, but a reciprocal, mutual relationship. In families with tight ties, the mutuality approaches equality. In families with looser ties, the acts of kinkeeping may be one-way. One measure of the strength of family ties could be the mutuality of kinkeeping behaviors. From this proposition of mutuality comes the suggestion that there may be preparatory socialization for kinkeeping. Instead of thinking of a single kinkeeper, it may be better to think of a chain of kinkeepers for most modified extended families, and to consider splits in kinkeeping, in which kinkeeping functions are shared with other relatives. For example, middle-aged women may tend to be the kinkeepers while older women may serve more as the focus of kinkeeping activity than as active kinkeepers themselves. (NRB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (37th, San Antonio, TX, November 16-20, 1984).