Solidarity, ambivalence and multigenerational co-residence in Hong Kong

Lisanne S.F. Ko

in Contemporary grandparenting

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9781847429681
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307624 | DOI:
Solidarity, ambivalence and multigenerational co-residence in Hong Kong

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Chinese people have a long tradition of multigenerational co-residence. This chapter refers to Hong Kong, the most developed westernised economy in China and yet with traditional cultural norm on intergenerational co-residence. It discusses the findings of an exploratory study which examined how grandparents perceive their intergenerational relationship in multigenerational co-residence. Framed by the theoretical perspectives on intergenerational solidarity, conflict and ambivalence, the chapter finds that multigenerational co-residence, in itself, may not lead to the fulfilment or enactment of all types of solidarity. Over-emphasising solidarity may lead to underestimating the possible negative consequences of the normative bases and practical drivers of multigenerational co-residence. Furthermore, although living together enhances functional support from grandparents to the middle and third generations, the support may not be primarily based on reciprocal support exchange across generations but strong normative altruism on the part of grandparents. Grandparents encounter ambivalences generated by conflicts between norms, as well as conflicts between norms and realities when striving to fulfil the normative familial obligations in intergenerational relationships. The chapter also suggests that future studies should re-examine multigenerational co-residence as being an act of filial piety the relationships of grandparents with their children-in-law in Chinese families, and relationships between structural solidarity, functional solidarity and normative solidarity.

Keywords: Intergenerational solidarity; Intergenerational ambivalence; Intergenerational relationships; Multigenerational co-residence; Grandparenthood; Grandparenting; Filial piety; Renqing; Chinese; Hong Kong

Chapter.  7900 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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