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The Binding TieChinese Intergenerational Relations in Modern Singapore$
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Kristina Göransson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832599

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832599.001.0001

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Renegotiating the Intergenerational Contract

Renegotiating the Intergenerational Contract

(p.115) 5 Renegotiating the Intergenerational Contract
The Binding Tie

Kristina Göransson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how the intergenerational contract is renegotiated and transformed. Rapid social mobility across generations has weakened the position of elderly parents vis-à-vis their children in terms of economic capacity and social status. This development is accompanied by an increase of resource flows from parents to young children, which puts pressure on young parents to balance the amount of time and money spent on their elderly and younger dependants. While these challenges have not yet led to the dissolution of filial obligations, the intergenerational contract is being reworked and made relevant to contemporary society. While many young couples prefer to live in nuclear units, intergenerational support cuts across these units. This ethnography illustrates how cohabitation is a negotiated aspect of the intergenerational contract, and how separate living arrangements are compensated for by financial support. The expectations of children's filial obligations have also been reinterpreted with regard to gender. While elderly parents traditionally relied on sons for financial support, daughters, too, have become important providers of such support as they enter the labor force.

Keywords:   Singapore, intergenerational relations, Singaporean family, intergenerational contract, intergenerational support

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