Accepted paper:

Bringing the "old" kinship back to the studies of "the aged"


Barbara Pieta (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is about the importance of attending to empirical regularities in the study of relatedness in the ageing world. Preliminary statistics, ethnographic data and participatory video material from the ongoing fieldwork (in an Italian village) will be used to illustrate the argument.

Paper long abstract:

A growing number of anthropologists today recognize the value of attending to patterns and structures in studying kinship and relatedness, and they do so with significant success (see. e.g. Schweizer and White:1998, Heady and Schweitzer:2010, Heady and Kohli:2010). This paper starts with the assumption that the moment anthropologists bring kinship back into the studies of "the aged",can also be a good moment to bring the "aged" version of kinship back to the anthropologists' mercy. I will use the preliminary findings of my ongoing fieldwork on the intergenerational relations in an Italian village, joint with the already existing data from other studies, to show how statistically captured regularities of kinship/household dynamics can combine with ethnography and produce new insights on kinship relations in the era of increased longevity. The preliminary statistical data presented include: a) residence patterns, inheritance and other intergenerational transfer; b) household economies now and in the last decades: mouth to feed/hands to work proportion, and how it changed historically. This data, supplemented with oral histories, data gathered through participant observation and Participatory Video material, will provide basis for the analysis of (changing?) nature of intergenerational dependency and how this translates into (new?) kinship dynamics.

panel P040
Re-conceptualising kinship and relatedness in an ageing world [MAN]