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Ways of Aging

Ways of Aging

Jaber F. Gubrium (Editor), James A. Holstein (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-75615-7

Jan 2008

240 pages

Description

Written and edited by social gerontologists, and focusing on everyday experiences, these essays draw from original case studies to look at the diverse ways of growing and being older.

  • Collects ten original essays on the aging experience, written by prominent social gerontologists.
  • Highlights diverse ways of growing and being older.
  • Offers detailed portraits of a broad range of experiences, including those of the homeless, the retirement community, sexual nonconformists, and the disabled.
  • Addresses stereotypes of the aging process and provides diverse examples of individual experiences.

Contributors vii

Introduction 1

Beyond Stereotypes 3
Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein

Part I Persistence 11

1 Narratives of Forgiveness in Old Age 13
Helen K. Black

2 Elderhood in Contemporary Lakota Society 36
Joan Weibel-Orlando

3 Claiming Identity in a Nursing Home 58
Debora A. Patemiti

Part II Adaptation 75

4 Three Childless Men’s Pathways into Old Age 77
Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox

5 Constructing Community from Troubles 96
Christopher A. Faircloth

6 Family Lives of Aging Black Americans 111
Colleen L. Johnson and Barbara M. Barer

Part Ill Change 133

7 Aging and Change in a Religious Community 135
Sarah Matthews

8 Identity Careers of Older Gay Men and Lesbians 160
Dana Rosenfeld

9 Expectations and Experiences of Widowhood 182
Deborah Kestin van den Hoonaard

Epilogue 201

10 Positive Aging 203
Mary Gergen and Kenneth J. Gergen

Index 225

Ways of Aging is a welcome antidote to deterministic theories of aging. What a treat to read such wonderfully written ethnographic accounts that both illuminate distinctive social worlds and offer provocative insight into the multiple meanings of aging and old age!’ David A. Karp, Professor of Sociology, Boston College

Ways of Aging demonstrates that environment is key to unraveling the diversity found among the aged. Gubrium and Holstein are unmistakable: aging is a coat of many colors; variety is the order of the day. A close reading of Ways of Aging will put to rest the very notion that there are ‘norms’ of aging. This book helps us understand how people create the scripts they live by, through narrative accounts.’ Joe Hendricks, Oregon State University


  • Collects ten original essays on the aging experience, written by prominent social gerontologists.

  • Highlights diverse ways of growing and being older.

  • Offers detailed portraits of a broad range of experiences, including those of the homeless, the retirement community, sexual nonconformists, and the disabled.

  • Addresses stereotypes of the aging process and provides diverse examples of individual experiences.