Recent Article based on EVS data

Marckmann, B. (2017). All is not relative: intergenerational norms in Europe. European Societies, 0(0), 1–26.


Is the sense of obligation we feel towards our parents comparable to the one we feel towards our children? Most studies of normative solidarity measure only filial norms, that is, norms for children’s obligations towards parents, whilst largely ignoring parental norms, that is, norms for parents’ obligations towards children. This article quantitatively investigates parental and filial norms in 20 countries within 5 European regions. The article examines the question of whether the family cultures of North-West Europe can be understood as cultures of descending familialism, that is, cultures in which parental obligations are emphasised over filial obligations, as opposed to cultures of extreme individualism. The article contributes to the literature on family norms theoretically by showing that family cultures should be differentiated not merely by their strength but also by their direction, and methodologically by highlighting the importance of developing precise measures of both parental and filial norms. For the Nordic countries in particular, the analysis shows that the family culture is pluralistic, with the question of intergenerational responsibilities being one likely to provoke discussion in these societies for years to come.


Sieben, I. (2017). Child-rearing values: The impact of intergenerational class mobility. International Sociology, 32(3), 369–390.

This study contrasts two theoretical perspectives on the relationship between intergenerational class mobility and child-rearing values. According to the dissociative thesis, which describes social mobility as a disruptive experience leading to insecurity, social isolation, stress and frustration, socially mobile individuals less often prefer community-oriented qualities such as tolerance and respect for other people, unselfishness, good manners and obedience. The beneficiary thesis, on the other hand, predicts that socially mobile individuals have a stronger preference for individual-based values such as hard work, determination, responsibility, independence and thrift. In both cases, these mobility effects are thought to be stronger for more extremely mobile individuals and for downwardly mobile compared with upwardly mobile individuals. However, using Dutch data from the European Values Study 2008, hardly any significant intergenerational mobility effects are found. Maybe intergenerational mobility is not such an extraordinary experience as mobility theory would lead us to believe, or mobile individuals adjust themselves very quickly to their new situation.