The Third Edition of this popular and widely-used text provides a comprehensive introduction to the study of aging, exploring the key behavioral and social science theories, concepts, and methods.
This new edition of Ageing in Society has been extensively rewritten and reflects new trends in European gerontology, incorporating recent developments in theory and research from international and interdisciplinary perspectives. The book is in two sections. In the first, contributors provide an overview of key issues in the study of biological, psychological, and social aging. The second section critically examines interdisciplinary perspectives on health, social protection, work and retirement, social relations, environments, cultural images of aging, cognitive aging, and the management of individual lifestyles.
Ageing in Society was developed by the British Society of Gerontology to fulfill the need for an authoritative introduction to social gerontology. As such, it is an ideal resource for students and lecturers in the social and behavioral sciences throughout the UK and Europe, as well as for students and practitioners in health and social care.
Chapter 11: Meanings of Ageing and Old Age: Discursive Contexts, Social Attitudes and Personal Identities
Meanings of Ageing and Old Age: Discursive Contexts, Social Attitudes and Personal Identities
Among the most important questions that have to be addressed in social gerontology are ‘what are ageing and old age?’ and ‘who counts as old and why?’ At first sight, the answers seem to be rather straightforward. In western culture, ageing is most often seen as a biological process of decline of bodily functions (Gullette, 2003). Greying hair, changing skin texture, failing eyesight, waning muscular strength, or reduced vitality – all these biological signs are commonly thought of as the defining features of old age. Consequently, older people are viewed as having frail health, as being unproductive ...