Ethnic minority ageing and intergenerational relationships: A life course - and intersectionality perspective

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This paper deals with the dynamics of ageing among ethnic minorities within a broad psychosocial framework involving the transnational contexts. Based on findings from psychotherapy with older adults (Knight, 2004) and a couple of empirical studies (Singla, 2008, Westerling, 2008) with young adults in Denmark, the paper challenges the myths about intergenerational care.

The concept of intersectionality emphasises that the older adults are simultaneously positioned within the social categories such as gender, ethnicity and social class, along with directing attention to processes of exclusion as well as colonisation at societal levels. While the life course model of agency within structures focuses at the temporal transitions and ‘linked lives’, involving affective depth and complexity of close relationships, especially intergenerational ones between the adult children and their parents. A combination of quantitative and qualitative method is used in the empirical studies, which includes Danish young adults as well members of South Asian diaspora in Denmark.

The paper delineates views of the older as well as younger generation about sensitive issues such as maturity, frailty, care –giving/taking, filial piety, reciprocal expectations, ambivalences. The results of these studies show a convergence in the filial norms among ethnic groups in the Danish welfare state. The unique aspects of the young adults’ trajectories challenge, transgress and transform some of the stereotypes related to cultural practices such as gender ideals. However, the filial responsibility norms are still prevalent, in spite of the social care and provision of welfare by the Danish state.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date2010
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAgeing and migrant health - København, Denmark
Duration: 10 May 201011 May 2010


SeminarAgeing and migrant health


  • older adults
  • transnational contexts
  • intersectionality
  • life course transitions
  • filial responsibility
  • ambivalences

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