Cultural Aging: Life Course, Lifestyle, and Senior Worlds

By Stephen Katz

© 2005

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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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

"With this collection of imaginative, wide-ranging essays, Stephen Katz secures his place as his generation's foremost proponent of cultural aging." - W. Andrew Achenbaum, University of Houston

Cultural Aging: Life Course, Lifestyle, and Senior Worlds

By Stephen Katz

© 2005

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.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Stephen Katz opens our eyes to the exhilarating possibilities for the aging experience. His analytic lenses touch on issues of governmentality, identity, agency, embodiment, gender, and sexuality. Katz tells us what we need to know to see through commodified formulations of the later years—that a critical curiosity serves to construct an unending panorama of worlds both for those who are old and those who have just begun the journey. It's quite a contribution.


    Jay Gubrium, University of Missouri

    With this collection of imaginative, wide-ranging essays, Stephen Katz secures his place as his generation's foremost proponent of cultural aging. The volume recasts issues in gerontology through the lens of contemporary theories in the humanities and social sciences, as it raises new questions.


    W. Andrew Achenbaum, University of Houston
  • Author Information

    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.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements
    Introduction

    Part One: Aging, Life Course, and The Cultural Politics of Expertise

    Chapter 1: Imagining the Life Span: From Premodern Miracles to Postmodern Fantasies

    Chapter 2: Charcot's Older Women: Bodies of Knowledge at the Interface of Aging Studies and Women's Studies

    Chapter 3: The Government of Detail: The Case of Social Policy on Aging, Stephen Katz and Bryan Green

    Chapter 4: Reflections on the Gerontological Handbook

    Chapter 5: Critical Gerontological Theory: Intellectual Fieldwork and the Nomadic Life of Ideas

    Chapter 6: Creativity Across the Life Course? Titian, Michelangelo, and Older Artist Narratives, Stephen Katz and Erin Campbell

    Part Two: Lifestyle and the Fashioning of Senior Worlds

    Chapter 7: Busy Bodies: Activity, Aging, and the Management of Everyday Life

    Chapter 8: Exemplars of Retirement: Identity and Agency Between Lifestyle and Social Movement, Stephen Katz and Debbie Laliberte-Rudman

    Chapter 9: Forever Functional: Sexual Fitness and the Aging Male Body, Barbara L. Marshall and Stephen Katz

    Chapter 10: Growing Older Without Aging? Postmodern Time and Senior Markets

    Chapter 11: Spaces of Age, Snowbirds, and the Gerontology of Mobility: The Elderscapes of Charlotte County, Florida

    Afterword: Aging Together

    References
    Index

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