Ageing and Society

Values, change and inter-generational ties between two generations of women in Singapore

a1 Department of Geography, National University of Singapore.
a2 Department of Geography, University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Article author query
teo p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
graham e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
yeoh b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
levy s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Personal values are framed by social contexts and carried through a person's lifecourse, but are sufficiently malleable to adapt to changing conditions. The dynamic character of personal values should be more frequently recognised in studies of inter-generational ties. This study examines the relationships between two generations of Singaporean women and their divergent values about gender roles, preference for the gender of children, family formation, care-giving and living arrangements. Younger women embrace more western views, while their older counterparts uphold Confucian values. Previous studies have tended to characterise inter-generational ties as conveying ‘conflict’ or ‘solidarity’, but here the concept of ‘ambivalence’ is employed to show that contradictory values co-exist, and that inter-generational ties encapsulate the negotiated outcome of complex attitudes, values and aspirations.

(Accepted January 22 2003)

Key Words: inter-generational ties; ambivalence; change; lifecourse; gender roles; family; Singapore.

c1 Peggy Teo, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, 1 Arts Link, Kent Ridge, Singapore 117570. e-mail: