The Social Construction of Grandfatherhood Across Time in England and the United States

  • Ann BuchananEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


This chapter illustrates how grandfatherhood has been shaped by tradition, social conditions, and attitudes to older men. Vignettes from different periods in the history of England and the USA indicate that the key influences in the social construction of grandfatherhood are the expectations of men’s behaviour at any given time; their access to ownership of resources, land, or property; social conditions of the period; and demography, particularly the number of grandfathers surviving until old age. Although the family patriarch remains the fallback position, there is evidence of the emergence of the so-called new grandfather as a more caring, nurturing figure.


Social construction of grandfathers 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Policy and InterventionUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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