Cultural Aging: Life Course, Lifestyle, and Senior Worlds

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Broadview Press, 2005 - Health & Fitness - 272 pages

Getting older is not what it used to be. Unprecedented changes to longevity, demographic, and life course patterns are transforming the social roles and experiences of older people. Cultural Aging explores this phenomenon and focuses on what it means to grow older today.

As Western populations age, positive images of aging that promote activity, autonomy, mobility, and choice have increased. On the one hand, these images defy traditionally negative stereotypes of decline, decrepitude, and dependency and create new opportunities for self-definition that stretch middle age into later life. On the other hand, the new aging animates an anti-aging culture, which potentially idealizes later life as an experience unburdened by the challenging material realities of growing older.

This collection of essays looks at two general themes: the way that modern life course regimes have been defined historically by the professional sciences and the way that aging identities have been affected by the cultural and economic significance of consumer lifestyle markets. In the process, Katz offers a truly interdisciplinary approach to the subject that expands traditional gerontological theory by borrowing from the humanities, feminism, and cultural theory.

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About the author (2005)

Stephen Katz is a Professor of Sociology at Trent Unversity in Peterborough, Ontario. He is the author of Disciplining Old Age: The Formation of Gerontological Knowledge, 1996. He has written widely on issues of aging and gerontology.

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