Ways of Aging

  • ID: 2248001
  • Book
  • 240 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Ways of Aging is an engaging collection of ten original essays on the experience of aging. Written and edited by social gerontologists, and focusing on everyday life, these essays draw from original case studies to feature diverse ways of growing and being older. Through in–depth interviews and first–person accounts, each essay gives a voice to the elderly, stressing the distinct and assorted identities that people develop as they grow older under different circumstances.

In straightforward and compelling prose, the authors feature the varied experiences of widows, African Americans, Native Americans, nursing home residents, gay and lesbian elders, and others. The essays provide vivid illustrations of both the complex differences of the aging experience and the surprising commonalities. The theme of a diverse, multifaceted aging experience links the various presentations.

Countering familiar stereotypes, Ways of Aging offers a unique perspective on the different pathways that may be taken through the later years.

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Contributors vii

Introduction 1

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

Part I Persistence 11

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

2 Elderhood in Contemporary Lakota Society 36Joan Weibel–Orlando

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

Part II Adaptation 75

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

5 Constructing Community from Troubles 96Christopher A. Faircloth

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

Part Ill Change 133

7 Aging and Change in a Religious Community 135Sarah Matthews

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

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

Epilogue 201

10 Positive Aging 203Mary Gergen and Kenneth J. Gergen

Index 225

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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

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