Emma Rose Snyder

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-14-2014

Major Department or Program



Michelle Janning


My study investigates the understudied phenomenon of upward intergenerational exchange within the family context, arguing that cultural socialization within the family is multidirectional, employing intergenerational transmission with both “upward” child-to-parent and “downward” parent-to-child cultural teaching and learning processes. I present this multidirectional familial socialization as rooted in a variety of grand theoretical perspectives and family-specific theories. My research question is three-pronged, as I will be examining what I consider to be the “what” is being exchanged, the “how” in terms of process, and the “why” in regards to why this phenomenon of upward intergenerational transmission is significant to family life. My study will examine the social constructions of parenthood, childhood, and the adaptive role of the family to attempt to understand why upward intergenerational transmission isn’t being utilized to its fullest potential. I place this phenomenon within its broader social context, acknowledging that while my aim with this study was to produce a generic model of this multidirectional exchange, there are many demographic variables and structural inequalities that hinder equal access to this phenomenon within the family context. Finally, I conclude by questioning how upwards intergenerational transmission is employed beyond the context of the family unit.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Socialization -- Children, Parenthood -- Case studies, Culture diffusion -- America -- History, Families -- United States -- Cross-cultural studies, Conflict of generations -- Social aspects, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2014 -- Sociology Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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