Social Gerontology

Social Gerontology

Social Gerontology

Social Gerontology

Synopsis

An in-depth look at some of the most important fields of inquiry in social gerontology.

Excerpt

“Human aging is not one process but many” (Atchley, 1997, p. 17). This statement by a prominent gerontologist captures the complexity of the field of human aging. in saying this Atchley acknowledges that in order to fully understand how and why we age, we are going to have to first identify those processes and then explore them in depth. This has only recently begun to be done. As Tibbets pointed out in 1960, the systematic study of aging is of relatively recent origin. This is particularly true of the study of the sociological aspects of the processes. But while the origins of such interest are somewhat contemporary, the rapidity with which interest in and research on the social aspects of aging have taken place is nothing short of extraordinary. Social scientists around the world have plunged headlong into the quest for knowledge concerning social aging. Research centers have been established, college and university degree and certificate programs have emerged, and a substantial number of journals have arisen as a result of the increased interest in the aging processes.

This can also be seen in the amount of gerontology textbooks which have been published in recent years. and while there has been a considerable expansion in the number of texts available, the number of supplemental readers is somewhat limited. This book is aimed at providing undergraduates with a collection of original chapters which address most of the major topics covered in social gerontology textbooks. the chapters cover a wide range of subjects, some of which are conventional—the one on ageism, for example—and some of which are quite unique—the one on aids among older adults. But all are timely and relate to currendy relevant areas of interest in the field.

While this book focuses on the social aspects of aging, a topic which might be thought by some to be somewhat narrow, the chapters contained here will clearly demonstrate the incredible breadth of this subfield of gerontology. in fact we would argue that there is a social component to every aspect of aging—even the . . .

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