Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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The Transmission of Intergenerational Capital in Wales: Language, Religion and Community

Work Package 4.2

Funder: ESRC

Start date: January 2016

End date: September 2017

Research team

Chris Taylor, Sally PowerKate Moles & Esther Muddiman (Cardiff University)


This project will utilise a mixed methods approach, combining analysis of existing secondary data with a series of qualitative interviews, surveys and scrapbooks to explore the distribution and determinants of the intergenerational transmission of language, religion and community cohesion in Wales.

The proposed research will employ a mixed methods approach. Patterns of intergenerational transmission will be explored through the secondary analysis of existing datasets. Processes of transmission will be explored through a variety of qualitative data gathered through surveys, interviews and ‘scrapbooks’.

Research Questions

The broad aim of this project is to explore the significance of intergenerational transmission of civil society. RA1 is predominantly conceptual, RA2 is predominantly empirical.

  1. How is the family positioned in relation to conceptualisations of civil society?

a. Is the family situated ‘outside’, ‘within’ or somewhere ‘in between’ the state, the market,
    and civil society?
b. Is the family portrayed as a cradle for selfishness or generosity?
c. What are the key dichotomies evoked in the literature on families and civil society, and
    how might we critique them?

2. How does the family actually engage (or otherwise) with civil society?

a. To what extent is there an intergenerational transmission of values and resources that 
     leads to greater or lesser civil society participation?

b. To what extent do intergenerational practices of care and support promote or hinder
    similar practices outside the family?
c. Do some forms of family arrangements lead to greater or lesser civil society engagement?
d. To what extent can families be seen as sites of civil activism, and of what kind?


Phase 1

The first phase of data collection will explore the processes through which parents and grandparents hand down (or fail to hand down) their capabilities and dispositions to a cohort of young people through a series of surveys.  These data will be used to map patterns of intergenerational transmission according to social class, ethnicity, geography (including the physical proximity of family members to one another), national identity, religiosity and political affiliations.

Phase 2

Building on the first phase, up to 30 families will be selected for qualitative case studies, involving interviews and ‘scrapbooks’ to explore the processes by which values, motivations and practices associated with civil society engagement get shared between different generations of the family. This second phase will focus on how different orientations to civil society are tied up with participants’ sense of who they are as an individual, a family member, and a member of a particular generation.  It will also explore the processes by which skills relevant to participating in civil society are shared between different family members and different generations.


-          Reports to participating schools and to our funders

-          A webpage for participants

-          Papers in peer reviewed journals and at national and international conferences

-          Blogs and press releases



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