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Anca Simionca

Abstract

This paper is an inquiry into the blooming sector of personal and spiritual development in contemporary Romania. It is based on interviews with providers of such services, on content analysis of blogs and books dedicated to the topic, and on participation in several workshops. The critical literature linking the proliferation of the field of personal and spiritual development with the increasing pervasiveness of neoliberal logic has highlighted some of the features of the subjectivity invoked in these programmes: the sovereignty of the self in relation to its environment, the lack of importance of social ties and solidarity, and the lack of importance of the community. This analysis explores the empirical material in searching for the main points of ambivalence in relation to these desiderates, as well as the mutations that can be identified in the privileged sites of production of individuality that are personal and spiritual development workshops and trainings. 2

Open access

Alvija Sumskaite and Inga Juknyte-Petreikiene

Abstract

The article discusses the envisaged outcomes of internationalisation policy of higher education in the context of the European Higher Education Area, and the effect of internationalisation policy on quality in higher education. In Lithuania, internationalisation of higher education is supported by large amounts of public finance, in the hope that internationalisation will provide added value to the quality of higher education. However, there are no tools for collecting evidence of whether that investment is properly used. The research question of the study is how the internationalisation policy impact on quality in higher education and its influence on wider society may be measured in a particular national context. The article presents exploratory research findings based on an extensive literature review and views of policymakers, higher education administrators and academics evaluated as a set of indicators and criteria to be used in assessing the impact of internationalisation policy on quality in higher education and its influence on wider society.

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Natasa Szabó

Abstract

The present paper investigates how the Bridge Budapest, a CSR organization founded by leading Hungarian IT startups, attempts to shape the values of Hungarian society towards capitalism in general, and towards entrepreneurship in particular. In my paper I argue that the central aim of the organization is to facilitate Hungary’s catching up with the core capitalist countries through the transformation of the attitudes and the ideologies surrounding capitalism in the Hungarian context, i.e. the local spirit of capitalism. This consists, on the one hand, of restoring the legitimation of some of the core institutions of capitalism, such as the enterprise and the entrepreneur, and of confronting the risk-taking, innovative and ethical figure of the entrepreneur hero with the provincial figure of the ‘postcommunist cheater’. On the other hand, it also consists of propagating a new management of work that aims to produce self-controlling and self-motivating employees. In the narrative of Bridge Budapest IT companies appear as the perfect moral and economic subjects – the bearers of the new spirit of capitalism – that have the expertise to offer solutions to the problems of Hungarian society, and around which the local capitalism should be built.

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Eugenijus Dunajevas and Daiva Skučienė

Abstract

Mandatory pension systems occupy a central role in the system of social security because of the share of social expenditure in national economies. One of the goals of pension system is to redistribute incomes among individuals. However, it is not clear how the intentions to redistribute incomes coincide with the outcomes. In this paper, we will study the difference between the intentions as they are articulated within institutions, with the outcomes that are generated by them. We use the method of comparative institutional analysis in order to find out the differences. Our comparative institutional analysis is based on the grammar of institutions that is proposed by Crawford and Ostrom. Also, in order to understand the differences, we will compare the institutions in relatively similar cases – the Baltic States. The results show that there is a gap between the intentions and outcomes to redistribute incomes among individuals. The findings from the comparative institutional analysis suggest that the most redistributive old age pension system is in Estonia. However, according to the factual information from Eurostat, the greatest distributive effect is produced by the mandatory pension system of Lithuania.

Open access

Elena Trifan

Abstract

This paper addresses the consequences of practicing personal development upon the daily life and interactions of individuals. In this context, I will describe how practitioners are applying the principles and techniques of personal development in order to transform the way individuals are relating to themselves and to others. In parallel, I will analyse how the ideology of personal development is assumed, by negotiation, in connection with the neoliberal project. This article aims to bridge a gap in the literature by showing how practicing personal development can restructure everyday experiences, emphasizing the negotiation of the intrinsic values of personal development techniques and how it (re)configures relationships and social interactions.

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Pearl A. Dykstra and Gunhild O. Hagestad

Abstract

Our starting point is that a social psychological approach dominates the literature on interdependent or “linked” lives (Elder, 1994). We argue that interdependence is not only social-psychological, but is also structured on a macro-level. More specifically, we illustrate ways in which demographic change, such as increased co-longevity, creates different opportunities for interdependence for men and women. In addition, we draw attention to the role of national policies, distinguishing ways in which legislation mandates generational interdependence (e.g., legal obligations to provide financial support), blocks generational interdependence (e.g., grandparents not granted the right to raise grandchildren when parents cannot provide adequate care; migration laws not granting temporary visits to enable the provision of care), generates generational interdependence (e.g., daddy quota), and lightens generational interdependence (e.g., less reliance on grandparental care in Northern and Western Europe due to public support to parents of young children). We pay specific attention to childless men and women, questioning the primacy assigned to kinship ties in health care and long-term support policies. Gender receives consistent consideration throughout the paper.

Open access

Household Living Arrangements of Older People

Proportions of over 60s by household type and intergenerational structure in selected countries

Open access

Russell King and Aija Lulle

Abstract

This paper describes the circumstances surrounding the migration of older Latvian women and their multi-dimensional lives as economic migrants and as distant carers and supporters of diverse family members who remain in Latvia. In post-Soviet Latvia, especially since the 2008 financial crisis and the austerity measures which took away hope for a decent old-age pension, older women migrate abroad in order to salvage their economic wellbeing and support their multi-generation families, which can run to four generations – their children and grandchildren plus, often, their elderly parents. Migration enables these women to maintain multidirectional flows of care and also to achieve economic and psychosocial independence. Therefore, care practices that reach four generations put the figure of the grandmother at the core of transnational care relations. Research evidence for this paper comprises 50 in-depth interviews with older Latvian migrant women aged from their mid-40s to their late 60s in the UK and elsewhere. The paper demonstrates the complexity and richness of these women’s working lives, built around enhanced economic wellbeing, multiple and transnational caring responsibilities, and a new sense of self-worth and empowerment.

Open access

Merril Silverstein and Ling Xu

Abstract

Increased life expectancy in China implies that adults increasingly survive long enough to see their grandchildren reach adulthood and take on elevated importance—even as smaller family size reduces the number of children and grandchildren available. This article examined the prevalence with which older adults received support and care from grandchildren and the family conditions under which the likelihood of this assistance is enhanced. The data for our analysis derived from the 2014 wave of the Chinese Longitudinal Aging Social Survey, limited to 13.4% of respondents (n = 1,551) who reported requiring personal assistance to perform daily activities. Logistic regression revealed that grandparents were more likely to receive assistance from grandchildren when they had no son available or had daughters who did not provide assistance. Results were consistent across urban and rural regions. These findings support the compensatory or substitution role of grandchildren as sources of support and care for their grandparents within a gendered family system. Implications for policies and services serving older people in China are discussed.

Open access

Vědunka Kopečná

Abstract

The growing youth unemployment across Europe raises the need to take appropriate measures. One of steps taken towards decreasing it by the European Union has been the program Youth Guarantee, implemented by a number of member states. Despite the relatively lower youth unemployment, the Czech Republic has implemented this program as well, and supported the realization of the project Internships for Young Job Seekers, whose aim was to ease the transition for students from schools to the labour market thanks to internships in companies. The effects which internship related project bring for their participants have been evaluated in other EU countries, mainly in Germany, but also in Sweden or France. However, evidence about internships’ effectiveness has been missing for the Czech Republic, and this paper fills this existing knowledge gap with the use of counterfactual impact evaluation methods. In the paper, we have focused on examining the impacts of internships on personal income and economic status of trainees by using the propensity score matching, difference-in-differences estimation and two complementary methods – ordinary least squares and multinomial logit. The results confirmed a positive impact of internships on treated project participants regarding both outcome variables, and thus, are consistent with the majority of literature in the field.