Contextualising Personal Networks Across Birth Cohorts and Countries

Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


This chapter starts with a depiction of the macro-level features of Portugal, Switzerland, and Lithuania. Assuming the core tenets of the life course, it draws attention to relevant historical markers in each country’s chronology since the 1950s, and to crucial political and social transformations. At a second stage, it provides a multidimensional depiction of the birth cohorts, which highlights communalities and dissimilarities namely in terms of biographical pathways, familial and occupational trajectories, normative frameworks, and structural conditions. By doing so, we offer a profile of each cohort across countries, which is a key element in understanding how individuals build their family and personal relationships. Underlying our approach is the theoretical stance that personal networks are best understood within the broader contexts in which they exist and evolve.


Birth cohorts Family Family trajectories Personal relationships Life course Contextualisation Normative framework Comparative analysis Historical 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 V. Kanopiené from Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania) and funded by Research Council of Lithuania.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social Sciences (ICS)University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Sociological Research LaboratoryMykolas Romeris UniversityVilniusLithuania
  3. 3.Life Course and Social Inequality Research CentreUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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