ageing


ageing
ageing, sociology of
The physiological process of growing older has vital social and cultural dimensions which affect what is often seen as a purely biological inevitability. Age is a cultural category and its meaning and significance vary both historically and cross-culturally. The sociology of ageing did not feature in standard sociology textbooks until recently. Like sex or gender, age tended to be seen as a ‘natural’ division, or else as a ‘problem’ reserved for social policy. By contrast, considerable sociological attention has been paid to youth culture .
In Western capitalism, a wage-labour system means fixed retirement from external production, thus categorizing the aged as non-productive, and a burden. In research priorities, gerontology , with its medical model of ageing, has been influential. Sociological research in Britain has focused on the aged as isolates or in state institutions. Demographic changes-with increasing longevity, a declining birth-rate, and a greater proportion of the population over 65 in the West-have stimulated both a moral panic and new interest in the consumer and political potential of the elderly.
Stereotyping and an assumed homogeneity among the aged are to be challenged. Class, race, and gender, as well as culture, counter biological factors. For example, old age is not perceived as an impediment for males with supreme political power in either communist or capitalist states. In numerous articles on the social relations of old people, Ethel Shanas has criticized what has been termed the acquiescent functionalism of much writing on ageing and the family life of the elderly, a tradition which legitimates ageism by excluding the elderly from the labour-market and other significant social roles . By contrast, Shanas's own research seems to demonstrate that ageing is a process of deprivation , leading to what has been called ‘structured dependency’ (see, Old People in Three Industrialised Societies, 1968, and, Family, Bureaucracy and the Elderly, 1977).
There is growing research interest in this field, not only in the experience and ethnography of the aged, but also in the specific constructions of ‘old age’ across cultures and through time (see, for example,’s Presidential Address to the American Sociological Association, ‘On the Significance of Age in Sociology’, American Sociological Review, 1987).

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ageing — adj. 1. having lived for a relatively long (or a specified) time; not young; used especially of persons. Opposite of {young}. Syn: aging, senescent, old. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ageing — n. same as {aging}. Syn: ripening, aging, mellowing [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ageing — ageing. См. старение. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • ageing — is preferable as a spelling to aging, although both are in use …   Modern English usage

  • Ageing — This article is about human ageing. For other uses, see Ageing (disambiguation). A human face showing signs of ageing Ageing (British English) or aging (American English) is the accumulation of changes in a person over time.[1] Ageing in humans… …   Wikipedia

  • ageing — I UK [ˈeɪdʒɪŋ] / US adjective a) an ageing person is becoming old a town with an ageing population b) an ageing machine, vehicle, or building is too old and no longer useful II UK [ˈeɪdʒɪŋ] / US noun [uncountable] the process of becoming old a… …   English dictionary

  • ageing — [[t]e͟ɪʤɪŋ[/t]] also aging 1) ADJ: usu ADJ n Someone or something that is ageing is becoming older and less healthy or efficient. John lives with his ageing mother... Ageing aircraft need more frequent safety inspections. 2) N UNCOUNT Ageing is… …   English dictionary

  • ageing — [ˈeɪdʒɪŋ] adj I becoming old a town with an ageing population[/ex] II noun [U] ageing [ˈeɪdʒɪŋ] the process of becoming old the ageing process[/ex] …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • ageing — 1 BrE usually aging AmE adjective (only before noun) becoming old, and usually less useful, attractive, suitable etc: aging movie stars | an ageing population 2 BrE usually aging AmE noun (U) the process of getting old: airlines with ageing… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • ageing — /ˈeɪdʒɪŋ/ (say ayjing) adjective 1. growing old; elderly. 2. causing someone or something to grow old. 3. causing a person to appear old, or older: that hairstyle s very ageing. –noun 4. the process of growing old. 5. the process of causing… …   Australian English dictionary


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