The Concept of Ambivalence in the Study of Family Relations

The Concept of Ambivalence in the Study of Family Relations

Gurko T.A.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Chief researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

For citation:

Gurko T.A. The Concept of Ambivalence in the Study of Family Relations. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 2. P. 63-73


The purpose of the article was to draw attention to the ambivalence concept, its use and measurement in Russian sociological research, including family. In the article particular emphasis is placed on the “structured ambivalence” core the source of which is a different distribution of privileges and resources in society among social groups based on class, age, gender, ethnicity/race, sexual orientation, place of birth, etc. Structural ambivalence affects the micro level of family interaction. It is important to study the social causes that provoke family ambivalence including social policy, mitigation of social inequalities and social stereotypes. Diversifications of family institute create new sources of family ambivalence such as role uncertainty, role conflict, ambiguity of family boundaries, non-normative family transitions, etc. The article substantiates the actuality of studies of relations between adult children and parents in connection with the increasing number of elderly people associated with an increase in life expectancy and low birth rate. In Russia, as in developed countries, there are problems of care for the elderly, providing them with physical, emotional and financial support, the development of care services. Russian sociology features few works analyzing relationship of genealogical generations – mainly from the perspective of solidarity/ conflict. Not studied remain social sources of intergenerational ambivalence that arise currently, in particular, due to different norms of generations in the marriage and family sphere.

ambivalence; theoretical approach; families; gender; parents; children
Content No 2, 2020