Gender and Ageing: Changing Roles and Relationships

Gender and Ageing: Changing Roles and Relationships

Gender and Ageing: Changing Roles and Relationships

Gender and Ageing: Changing Roles and Relationships

Synopsis

This book is a follow-up to Arber and Ginn's award winning Connecting Gender and Ageing (1995). It contains orginal chapters from eminent writers on gender and ageing, addressing newly emergent areas within gender and ageing, including gender identity and masculinity in later life.

Early work on gender and ageing was dominated by a focus on older women. The present collection breaks with this tradition by emphasizing changing gender roles and relationships, gender identity and an examination of masculinities in midlife and later life. A theme running through the book is the need to reconceptualize partnership status, in order to understand the implications of both widowhood and divorce for older women and men, as well as new forms of relationships, such as Living Apart Together (LAT-relationships). There is also an underlying focus on how socio-economic circumstances influence the experiences of ageing and the ways transitions are negotiated.

Written with undergraduate students and researchers in mind, Gender & Ageing will be an invaluable text for those studying social gerontology, sociology of later life, gender studies, health and community care and social policy.

Excerpt

Sara Arber, Kate Davidson and Jay Ginn

Changing gender roles and relationships in later life and the challenges to masculinity with advancing age are newly emerging areas in the study of gender and ageing. Over recent years there have been substantial advances in our understanding of the lives of older women, but older men have been largely neglected. This book builds on Arber and Ginn's edited collection Connecting Gender and Ageing published in 1995, but breaks with much feminist scholarship by redressing the earlier focus on women and emphasizing changing gender identities and relationships. Turning points, such as transitions to retirement, widowhood and the onset of health problems or caring, throw into sharp relief the meanings of masculinity and identities in later life.

Cohorts entering midlife and later life in the early years of the twenty-first century grew up following the Second World War and had a very different life course experience compared with earlier generations. This is particularly so for women, who have experienced longer attachment to the labour market. Other changes relate to increases in divorce and non-heterosexual relationships. A theme running through the book is the need to reconceptualize partnership status and to improve understanding of the implications of both widowhood and divorce for older women and men. New forms of relationships are considered, such as Living Apart Together and the changing family relationships of gays and lesbians as they age. The meanings of ageing for men and women, and how these vary with partnership status, are key concerns of the book, as are the influence of socio-economic circumstances on the experience of ageing and on the ways in which individuals negotiate changes . . .

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