Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 10
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Alfani, Guido and Ryckbosch, Wouter 2016. Growing apart in early modern Europe? A comparison of inequality trends in Italy and the Low Countries, 1500–1800. Explorations in Economic History,

    HILEVYCH, YULIYA 2016. Later, if ever: Family influences on the transition from first to second birth in Soviet Ukraine. Continuity and Change, Vol. 31, Issue. 02, p. 275.

    Mönkediek, Bastian and Bras, Hilde A.J. 2016. The Interplay of Family Systems, Social Networks and Fertility in Europe Cohorts Born Between 1920 and 1960. Economic History of Developing Regions, Vol. 31, Issue. 1, p. 136.

    Hansen, Thomas and Slagsvold, Britt 2015. Late-Life Loneliness in 11 European Countries: Results from the Generations and Gender Survey. Social Indicators Research,

    HÖGMAN, ANN-KRISTIN 2015. Survival strategies late in life: living conditions of never-married elderly women in Gothenburg in the 1920s. Continuity and Change, Vol. 30, Issue. 02, p. 279.

    Mönkediek, Bastian and Bras, Hilde 2014. Strong and weak family ties revisited: reconsidering European family structures from a network perspective. The History of the Family, Vol. 19, Issue. 2, p. 235.

    Bertone, Chiara 2013. Citizenship across generations: struggles around heteronormativities. Citizenship Studies, Vol. 17, Issue. 8, p. 985.

    Dykstra, Pearl A. and Komter, Aafke 2012. Generational interdependencies in families. Demographic Research, Vol. 27, p. 487.

    Gierveld, Jenny Dykstra, Pearl A. and Schenk, Niels 2012. Living arrangements, intergenerational support types and older adult loneliness in Eastern and Western Europe. Demographic Research, Vol. 27, p. 167.

    Moor, Nienke and Komter, Aafke 2012. Family ties and depression across the life course: An Overview. Demographic Research, Vol. 27, p. 201.


Family, kinship and welfare provision in Europe, past and present: commonalities and divergences

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2010

The realization that European family forms are failing to converge as predicted by modernization theory has led many scholars to suspect that the broad regional differences detected by historians persist in the present and are likely to influence future developments. This article outlines some relevant hypotheses prompted by historical studies about the role of family and kinship as sources of social security and analyses the results of comparative work on contemporary Europe, paying special attention to the relative weight of cultural and structural factors. Although differences still appear to predominate over commonalities, it is not inconceivable that in certain important respects European countries might paradoxically converge, owing to the generalized decline of the welfare state, towards forms of welfare provision that are closer to the ‘familialistic’ models of southern and eastern Europe than to the ‘modern’ models of Scandinavia and north-western Europe.

Famille, parenté, mesures de protection sociale et bien-être dans l'Europe d'hier et d'aujourd'hui: convergences et divergences

En constatant que différentes formes que connaît la famille européenne n'ont pas tendu vers un modèle commun comme le prévoyait la théorie de la modernisation, de nombreux chercheurs en sont venus à penser que les profondes différences entre régions qu'ont constatées les historiens persistent encore et qu'elles affectent vraisemblablement les développements à venir. Nous relevons ici des hypothèses que la recherche historique a formulées quant au rôle que famille et parenté ont joué pour apporter une sécurité sociale; nous analysons d'autre part les travaux comparatifs traitant de l'Europe contemporaine, avec une attention particulière pour le poids des facteurs structurels et culturels. Bien qu'apparemment les divergences entre régions européennes l'emportent encore sur les convergences, il n'est pas inconcevable qu'au moins sous certains aspects, et paradoxalement, les modèles européens puissent converger, étant donné le déclin généralisé de l'état-providence, vers des mesures susceptibles d'assurer le bien-être, plus proches des modèles de la ‘famille traditionnelle’ du Sud et de l'Est de l'Europe que de ceux, ‘modernes’ de la Scandinavie et de l'Europe du Nord-Ouest.

Familie, Verwandtschaft und Wohlfahrtsleistungen in Europa in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart: Gemeinsamkeiten und Abweichungen

Nachdem klar geworden ist, dass sich die europäischen Familienformen nicht angeglichen haben, wie es von der Modernisierungstheorie vorhergesagt worden war, sind viele Gelehrte zu der Vernutung gelangt, dass die deutlichen regionalen Unterschiede, die von Historikern ausfindig gemacht worden sind, in der Gegenwart fortbestehen und vermutlich auch künftige Entwicklungen beeinflussen werden. Dieser Beitrag skizziert einige der relevanten Hypothesen über die Rolle der Familie und der Verwandtschaft als Quellen der sozialen Sicherheit, die durch historische Studien aufgeworfen worden sind, und analysiert die Ergebnisse vergleichender Arbeiten zum gegenwärtigen Europa, wobei dem relativen Gewicht kultureller und struktureller Faktoren besondere Aufmerksamkeit geschenkt wird. Obwohl die Unterschiede offenbar noch immer größer sind als die Gemeinsamkeiten, ist es nicht undenkbar, so paradox es klingen mag, dass sich die europäischen Gesellschaften auf Grund des allgemeinen Rückgangs des Sozialstaats auf bestimmten wichtigen Gebieten angleichen werden, und zwar in Richtung von Wohlfahrtsleistungen, die den ‘familiaristischen’ Modellen des südlichen und östlichen Europas näher stehen als den ‘modernen’ Modellen Skandinaviens und Norwesteuropas.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

D. I. Kertzer , ‘Household history and sociological theory’, Annual Review of Sociology 17 (1991), 156

D. S. Reher , ‘Family ties in Western Europe: persistent contrasts’, Population and Development Review 24 (1998), 203–34

M. Jylhä and J. Jokela , ‘Individual experiences as cultural: a cross-cultural study of loneliness among the elderly’, Ageing and Society 10 (1990), 300–8

J. Ogg and S. Renaut , ‘The support of parents in old age by those born during 1945–1954: a European perspective’, Ageing and Society 26 (2006), 723–43

C. Attias-Donfut , J. Ogg and F.-C. Wolff , ‘European patterns of intergenerational financial and time transfers’, European Journal of Ageing 2 (2005), 161–73

M. Albertini , M. Kohli and C. Vogel , ‘Intergenerational transfers of time and money in European families: common patterns – different regimes?’, Journal of European Social Policy 17 (2007), 319–34

S. O. Daatland and K. Herlofson , ‘“Lost solidarity” or “changed solidarity”: a comparative European view of normative family solidarity’, Ageing and Society 23 (2003), 540

V. L. Bengtson , ‘Beyond the nuclear family: the increasing importance of multigenerational bonds’, Journal of Marriage and Family 63 (2001), 11

M. Kalmijn and C. Saraceno , ‘A comparative perspective on intergeneration support: responsiveness to parental needs in individualistic and familialistic countries’, European Societies 10 (2008), 479508

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Continuity and Change
  • ISSN: 0268-4160
  • EISSN: 1469-218X
  • URL: /core/journals/continuity-and-change
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *