Aging Political Activists: Personal Narratives from the Old Left

Synopsis

Aging Political Activists is at once a series of political autobiographies, a set of personal narratives of social commitment, a model for qualitative research, and a challenge to current theory and practice in the social and behavioral sciences. It presents and examines the life stories of four individuals--close friends and former members of the Communist Party USA--revealing the ways they have developed and sustained their personal values and political outlook through a lifetime of involvement in movements for social change. Shuldiner approaches the interviews as a collaborative effort with his subjects who both describe their identities and experiences and critique the interview process, offering alternate readings of the content of their narratives or new directions for inquiry. These portraits of older activists challenge notions about the role of the personal in the development of political identity, while shifting the debate among gerontologists between "activity" versus "disengagement" in old age to a discussion of the dialectical relationship of these two aspects of human behavior throughout a lifespan.

Additional information