Indonesian family systems do not conform to the prevailing image of Asian families, the predominant arrangements being nuclear and bilateral, with an important matrilineal minority. This paper considers the strength of family ties in two communities, focussing particularly on inter-generational flows of support to and from older members. Data are drawn from a longitudinal anthropological demography that combines ethnographic and panel survey methods. Several sources of variation in family ties are detailed, particularly the heterogeneity of support flows - balanced, upward, and downward - that co-exist in both communities. Different norms in each locale give sharply contrasting valuations of these flows. The ability of families to observe norms is influenced by the effectiveness of networks and by socio-economic status
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