Generativity and Gender in Shrinking Welfare Societies – an Institutional Analysis in International Comparison

The current political, medial and social scientific discourse on causes and consequences of the demographic changes in the European Union and in other Western industrial nations is not only more or less affirmative but also widely without considering the gender perspective. Until now, there are hardly any contributions on the interrelation of demographic changes and changes in gender relations from a critical and reflexive sociological perspective or from the sight of social scientific women’s and gender research.

The fertility decline composes a focal point in the discussions about demographic change. It contributes successively and sustainably to shrinking welfare societies, with different intensity and tempos on national levels. Thus, it is not only the question of immigration and the question of ageing but also the question of children and, in combination with it, questions of the future of the family and of the arrangement of gender and generational relations that are in the heart of contemporary attention.

The study focuses on the welfare triangle of state, market and family that is important for the question of generativity and gender. In the project, the institutions of the welfare state are seen as a medium between the macro-level of societal structures and phenomena – first of all gender relations and the fertility decline – and the micro-level of generative acting of (young) women and men as well as the social construction of gender. The theory of structuration by Anthony Giddens shapes the theoretical background of the study.


Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony (Maria-Goeppert-Mayer-Programme of International Women’s and Gender Research) and own resources

Duration of the project



Book publication in preparation