The CPC Seminar Series takes place between October and June, all seminars are free to attend and no registration is required. If you would like to present please contact

Gifts, loans and intergenerational support towards the costs of living independently in young adulthood

8th March 2012 1pm, University of Southampton, 58/1007

Sue Heath, Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life, University of Manchester

Amidst rising housing costs and restricted employment opportunities in the UK, younger generations are increasingly dependent on their families for material and financial support to offset the costs of living independently, including (but not confined to) their housing costs. Such exchanges involve complex intergenerational negotiations relating to status obligations and responsibilities, indebtedness and gratitude, dependency and independence, fairness and equality. This paper explores these issues from the perspective of a group of single young adults aged 25 to 34 who were involved in CPC-funded research on their housing pathways (based on qualitative interviews conducted in 2010). The paper will outline the nature of these exchanges and will then explore how these forms of assistance are understood by those in receipt of them, focusing in particular on whether they are viewed as loans or as gifts, and with what perceived consequences. We conclude that the uneasy co-existence of gratitude and discomfort experienced by many of our research participants was managed but by no means resolved by strategies which sought to blur the boundaries between gifts and loans.

Download Presentation File 1 (mp4 format)