Family fortunes: an intergenerational perspective on recession

Thomson, Rachel; Hadfield, Lucy; Kehily, Mary Jane and Sharpe, Sue (2010). Family fortunes: an intergenerational perspective on recession. Twenty-First Century Society, 5(2) pp. 149–157.



This paper draws on longitudinal qualitative data from a study of family dynamics arising from the arrival of a new generation. The paper begins by outlining a conceptual framework for exploring historical and economic events through the accounts of families. We then outline some of the very different ways that individuals responded to questions about the recession, reflecting both their distinct generational positions as well as their relative exposure to risk. How the credit crunch is experienced varies considerably according to the situations of individuals and families, with meaning created retroactively. The way in which individuals narrate their situations depends in part of the kinds of stories that members of the family tell about themselves and their relationships, as well as the less conscious family dialog that lies behind these. Through an in-depth longitudinal case study we show how family narratives change over time in response to events, suggesting how events in the present resonate with the unresolved legacy of events in the past.

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