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6 - Family Work

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2010

Robert M. Milardo
Affiliation:
University of Maine, Orono
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Summary

The family work of aunts and uncles takes on a variety of forms but shares some common characteristics as aunts and uncles, as well as nieces and nephews, exchange knowledge about family members, mediate occasional family disputes, or act as partisan supporters or critics. Aunts and uncles talk with nieces and nephews about their parents, siblings, grandparents, and other kinfolk. They tell and retell stories of family members. They share significant events, developmental milestones, and news of current activities. In so doing, they create a family's unique biography and secure the place of each individual within a continuity of generations and relationships. In this chapter, we consider each of the realms of family work as they illustrate how uncles and aunts enact generativity throughout their relationships with family members, particularly nephews and nieces. At the same time, the conduct of family work further illustrates how families are composed of interdependent relationships organized across multiple households. Of course families vary in their permeability, in the knowledge members have of one another, the frequency with which they communicate, and the unique family norms that govern their conversations or the lack of them. Some aunts and uncles have little contact with their siblings or other kin; others have considerable contact. Our task in these pages is to illustrate this diversity and in particular to illustrate how aunts, uncles, parents, and their children often rely on one another in a variety of significant ways.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Forgotten Kin
Aunts and Uncles
, pp. 131 - 158
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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  • Family Work
  • Robert M. Milardo, University of Maine, Orono
  • Book: The Forgotten Kin
  • Online publication: 20 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511657542.007
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  • Family Work
  • Robert M. Milardo, University of Maine, Orono
  • Book: The Forgotten Kin
  • Online publication: 20 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511657542.007
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Family Work
  • Robert M. Milardo, University of Maine, Orono
  • Book: The Forgotten Kin
  • Online publication: 20 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511657542.007
Available formats
×