This book seeks to understand the impact of late modernity on the changing patterns of personal and family relationships and to explain them in the context of broader societal effects and national histories. Findings confirm that, far from the vision of individualized free choice and kinship decline, individuals’ choices in their personal and family networks are shaped by biographical and social constraints. The book draws out the influence of major mechanisms and shaping factors of relational proximity, such as past co-residence, life trajectories, or individuals’ positioning in social structure, and provides some innovative conclusions with regard to the impact of national context. Comparison across Switzerland, Portugal, and Lithuania illuminates how different historical and social pathways affect the complex reconfiguration of the shape of personal networks.
KeywordsLate modernity Individualization Kinship decline Personal and family networks Biographical and social constraints National context Comparative analysis Portugal Switzerland Lithuania
The authors of the chapter wish to acknowledge sponsors that made it possible to carry out this investigation, the results of which are presented in the chapter. In Switzerland, the research was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES Overcoming Vulnerability: Life-Course Perspectives. In Portugal, the research was carried out within the national survey, “Family Trajectories and Social Networks”, coordinated by Professor K. Wall from the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) from the University of Lisbon. In Lithuania, the research was carried out based on data collected within the research project, “Trajectories of Family Models and Personal Networks: Intergenerational Perspective”, coordinated by Professor V. Kanopiené from Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania) and funded by the Research Council of Lithuania.