Journal section "Social development"

Barriers to Social Integration of the Older Generation in the Context of Intergenerational Communication Issues

Barsukov V.N.

Volume 11, Issue 5, 2018

Barsukov V.N. Barriers to social integration of the older generation in the context of intergenerational communication issues. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2018, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 214-230. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2018.5.59.14

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2018.5.59.14

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Over the past few centuries, humanity has made the transition from a “society without the elderly” to an “aging society”. The consequences of global population ageing entail changes not only in the economic and demographic space, but also in the social space. At the same time, this category of consequences caused by the increase in the share and number of representatives of the older generation is the least amenable to empirical measurements and forecasting. One of the most important tasks of the “ageing” states is to solve the problem of social integration and secondary socialization of the elderly, but in the conditions of increasing technological progress there emerges a powerful structural barrier, which is expressed in the growing communication distance between generations. The “generation gap” issue originates in ancient times, but at the moment in the context of global demographic aging it is becoming increasingly important. The aim of our research is to study barriers to social integration of the older generation in the context of intergenerational communication. To achieve this goal, we carry out a conceptual review of the existing theory of generations and fundamental works in the field of research on intergenerational communication, we analyze and interpret the data obtained through a series of in-depth interviews with representatives of the older generation, and formulate main conclusions of the study. The above goals and objectives aim to test the main hypothesis of the study, according to which the gap in intergenerational communication is one of the main barriers to social integration of the older generation. The first part of the paper presents a theoretical overview of existing approaches to the concept of “generation”, laws of their change and factors leading to the break of intergenerational communications. It identifies theoretical and empirical limitations in the allocation of universal characteristics of the change of generations. It concludes that the process of breaking intergenerational communication is linked to the formation of barriers to social integration of the elderly. The second part of the paper presents data on the results of a series of in-depth interviews with representatives of retirement age population living in Vologda. The study confirms the hypothesis that the break of intergenerational communications is one of the fundamental aspects that prevent the inclusion of the older generation. This process is determined by many factors, the main ones of which include the loss of relevance of skills and experience of the older generation, as well as the loss of the demand for these qualities on the part of the younger population (and also within the family)


population ageing; older generation; intergenerational communication; generation gap; barriers to inclusion

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