Talking and Silence. Inter-Generational Communication in Family Cover Image

Rozprávanie a mlčanie: medzigeneračná komunikácia v rodine
Talking and Silence. Inter-Generational Communication in Family

Author(s): Peter Salner, Monika Vrzgulová, Ľubica Voľanská
Subject(s): Social history, Recent History (1900 till today), Behaviorism, Family and social welfare, Demography and human biology, Social Norms / Social Control, Politics of History/Memory, Identity of Collectives
Published by: Ústav etnológie a sociálnej antropológie Slovenskej akadémie vied
Keywords: Communication in a family; circle of scilence; talking and scilence; generations; cohorts; inter-generational solidarity and conflict; behaviour; family and memory;
Summary/Abstract: Family and the various forms of relationships and communications between the different generations in a family still represent a common object of research in the field of humanities, including ethnology. For most of us, family is a micro-world in which the major part of the human life happens. It offers us the initial information about the functioning of things and, in particular, about relationships between people, and creates the space in which we train communication. Within a family we learn in a non-violent way about how relationships between people –peers and members of different generations – work. We adopt opinions about what is going on around us, accept values and norms that we consequently use, modify and confront with the world outside the family sphere. Socialization in a family is the initial blueprint that forms our identity, the idea about who we are, where we belong to, whose continuation we are. Above all, family is an environment that is supposed to bring together its members through the feeling of mutual trust. It also offers the possibility (almost the obligation) to talk about confidential issues, but it can also create a “circle of silence” about phenomena which are taboo because of being painful and hurting both the speakers and the listeners. Especially in totalitarian regimes, family is endangered by the disclosure of certain facts, while others distort the positive image about its members. Family and society are interrelated as communicating vessels. Any changed conditions in society also change family, its forms, the relationships between generations, as well as the themes and the forms of communication within it. And vice versa – society responds (or should respond) to the needs and problems of family by means of special institutions. Today, the changes in communication in family are due to increased mobility of its members (education, work, personal fulfillment), individualization, as well as the development of new communication technologies. On one hand, there is the actual physical distance between the family members; on the other hand, the overcoming of such distance thanks to technological discoveries. In connection with family issues the developments in the European society of the 2nd half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century have made us reflect about Martin Heidegger's statement: “The present times have overcome all distances, but have not created any proximity.” Another characteristic feature of a present-day family is the fact that the increased life expectancy trend allows for longer co-habitation and cultivation of relationships between three or even four generations. This creates a new potential for of inter-generational family relationships and extends the time lived in such relationships as adult individuals. The term generation can be described in several manners: for example, by an appropriately defined time interval related to the period of birth of individuals pertaining to a single generation. It is common to use the interval of 10 to 30 years, but other criteria can also be set for determining who pertains to which generation. Hence, a generation can be defined on the basis of the duration of a certain event (e.g. war generation) or structurally, like childhood (Wintersberger 2000: 6).

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-80-224-1621-4
  • Page Count: 136
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: Slovak