How retired people use their support networks over time: an explorative study using ego-networks and a mixed methods approach.

Francisca Ortiz, Elisa Bellotti


Contemporary societies are globally undergoing a significant ageing phenomenon. The ageing of societies poses challenges for families, communities, markets and governments, but its effects are shaped by social, cultural and economic inequalities. In this global context, Chile represents an excellent case study, because it has one of the largest ageing populations in South America, as well as being one of the most unequal countries in the OECD ones. The current “Administration of founding and pensions” (AFP) pension system consists of the world’s first state-endorsed privatised pension system. This system has generated significant inequalities in ageing in relation to gender and social class. This paper will discuss the contextual aspects of ageing in Chile and introduces some theoretical approaches that have been used to understand ageing in unequal societies. The contextual and theoretical background will show the need to adopt a longitudinal relational perspective to empirically observe the access to social capital and social support over the life course, and how it is shaped by gender and social class. The paper will then move to discuss the research design that has been developed to collect longitudinal egonet data of 30 older people in Chile (more than 110 ego-nets in total), aged between 60 and 98 from Santiago of Chile, 15 male and 15 females, from different social classes, using a mixed methods approach. Data were collected from October 2019 to January 2020 in Santiago of Chile. Preliminary analysis will be presented, together with a discussion of how to elaborate preliminary results.

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