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Exchange and Reciprocity among
Two Generations of
Japanese and American Women
Hiroko Akiyama, Toni C. Antonucci
and Ruth Campbell
Using a variety of qualitative and quantitative approaches, from individual case studies to national surveys, Akiyama, Antonucci and Campbell provide a path-breaking study of intergenerational transactions between women in Japan and the United States. Drawing on exchange theory and Antonucci’s concept of a life-long “Social Support Bank,” the authors clearly delineate how the cultural construction of reciprocity regulates the flow of goods, services and emotions between adult daughters and their mothers. The comparison of these two societies is particularly important as it allows us to hold relatively constant the factor of urban-industrial development while comparing the effect of dramatically different cultures on the lives of the elderly. Here we see that in Japan the continuing pattern of high elderly coresidence with adult children is embedded within a cultural system with different values and perspectives on the nature of intergenerational reciprocity. Other key chapters dealing with Japan are found in Part III, by Jenike and Traphagan; and in Part VI, by Traphagan and by Willcox et al.
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