Tony Soprano and reflexive socialisation in late modernity

Watching the Sopranos, I was struck by what a good example this was of what Margaret Archer argues are the consequences of the intensification of social change for intergenerational socialisation: the decreasing likelihood that children will encounter occupational roles familiar to their parents will tend to increase the degree of reflexivity with which the parents orientate themselves to the lives of their children. If they don’t feel they understand the occupation world their children are entering than what might have otherwise be a transmission of normative guidance is more likely to become a generalised expression of support as they make their own choices.

Categories: Outflanking Platitudes

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2 replies »

  1. Mark, what you describe is from another perspective a chronic problem of aging amid social and technological change, at least in the USA. People approaching and passing retirement age are not adequately prepared for the extent to which the generations after them (such as their children) will experience what their elders know (and tell them) as obsolete, irrelevant, and intrusive. We geezers often suffer from a painful awakening to how useless we are to people younger than us.

    • I’d not thought of it in those terms. That’s very interesting. My point is that this experience of being ‘useless’ will likely have important consequences for how parents relate to their children. If you feel your understanding has no use to them then your parenting style will likely become much more non-directive (“I’ll support them in whatever they decide”) which has important developmental consequences for the children’s transition into adulthood.

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