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Jason L. Powell

Subject Philosophy » Epistemology
Sociology of Health, Aging, and Medicine » Sociology of Aging

Key-Topics age, social issues

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Gerontology can be defined as the scientific and social analysis of aging. The discipline of gerontology is concerned with understanding age and aging from a variety of perspectives and integrating information from different social science and human science disciplines such as psychology and sociology. The concern of gerontology is in the definition and theorization of age. In western societies a person's age is counted on a chronological or numerical foundation, beginning from birth to the current point of age, or when an individual has died. Chronological aging is a habit we all engage in: birthdays and wedding anniversaries, for example. Counting age is a social construction because it is a practice underpinned by the development of industrial capitalism. Age has three main focal points of interest to gerontology. First, the aging of an individual takes place within a particular period of time and space. By virtue of this, individual experiences of age are enabled or constrained by their location in time, space, and cultural uniformity. Second, society has a number of culturally and socially defined expectations how individuals of certain ages are supposed to behave and how aging impacts upon how they are compartmentalized into the “stages of life.” Historically, the stages of life were presented as a religious discourse which formed the basis for the cultural expectations about ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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