This chapter introduces the rationale and background, and sets the context to the study of intergenerational relations, drawing analysis from a wide range of expertise within and beyond social gerontology. It offers a global perspective that reflects the wide-ranging geographic locations examined. It describes the macro-level domestic and global changes which are likely to shape interpersonal relationships within families. It notes that this volume draws on both theoretical perspectives and empirical analysis in relation to contemporary exchange rationales and practices of family support, and the changing nature and patterns of intergenerational relations. It addresses these issues in diverse national and cultural contexts. It identifies some of the driving forces — external opportunities and pressures — contributing to the transformation of family forms, ideologies, and functions.
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