Virpi Timonen

About Virpi Timonen

Virpi Timonen is a Finnish national who holds a PhD from the University of Oxford and is Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy in Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Social and Public Policy, University of Jyväskylä (Finland). Her research focuses on intergenerational relationships, experiences of and roles in old age, and policy pertaining to older adults. She is the President of the Research Committee on Ageing (RC 11) of the International Sociological Association.

Singlehood: The (Surprising) Ways it Still Matters in Old Age

Declining marriage rates in many societies, in particular among the poorer and disadvantaged population groups, has sparked growing interest.  Current debates are often focused on whether the ‘failure’ to marry signifies deficiencies on the part of the individual, or insufficient societal resourcing of some groups to make them ‘marriageable’. Concerns are frequently expressed about old age being a grim prospect for the never-married, due to the lack of care and support from a spouse and adult children. In aggregate, such views and debates convey a negative picture of singlehood, and of unmarried people who are seen as especially problematic when they become old.

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