The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives

The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives

The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives

The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives


The consequences of global aging will influence virtually all areas of life to be encountered in the 21st century, including the biological limits of healthy longevity, the generational contract and nature of family ties, the makeup of households and communities, symbolic representations of midlife and old age and attitudes toward disability and death. The new edition (3rd) of the award winning book "The Cultural Context of Aging: World-Wide Perspectives" covers all these topics and more. This unique volume uses a qualitative, case study approach to look at the rapidly emerging new cultural spaces and social scripts through which mid and late life are being encountered globally. It is completely revised with over thirty new original works covering China, Japan, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, indigenous Amazonia, rural Italy and the ethnic landscape of the U.S.

A new feature of the book includes an integrated set of web book articles listed in the table of contents and available on the book's web site: ( This is in addition to the largest web support of its kind providing literature updates, educational activities and even access to power points, graphics and video supplementing the text.

In this one of a kind edited text, readers will encounter the laughing clubs of India, the centenarian diet plan of Okinawa, the waltzing elders of urban China, aging in a true woman-centered society, the elderscapes of Florida, the challenge of "Conscious Aging," Japan's robotic granny minders, Denmark's "Flexsecurity" long-term care system; the Midwest's elder-friendly communities, "Eldertopia" and the "Green House" model for dementia care. Welcome to your future


I approached the latest edition of this book as I was beginning my sixth decade of life. This has caused me to reflect and comment in places throughout the introductory text materials about my own encounter with the edges of late adulthood. In one aspect this has involved learning to live with and adjust to bodily changes, such as the growth of cataracts or arthritis beginning to appear in my joints. Unlike a number of the book’s authors, I did not have to cope with prolonged eldercare, as my own parents died very quickly from rapidly advancing cancers before their mid-seventies. As the eldest child of these parents, their passing did elevate me into the very senior rank of my siblings and their grown children. Yet, a sense of my own changing place in the generational scheme of things has been most influenced by the birth and maturation of four grandchildren, two of whom are now teenagers.

When I first taught a course on the anthropology of aging in fall 1976, there was a mere scattering of substantial writings on aging in diverse societies around the world. However, this has dramatically changed as readers will find in this third edition. Since that time, there has been an explosion of research undertaken not only by anthropologists, but by scholars in other social and behavioral sciences. It has grown far beyond what can be contained in any one, even quite large, volume. Because of this, I first developed for the second edition a large Web site to expand readers’ connections to the enormous body of knowledge emerging in the global study of aging. I hope students and faculty will take the time to explore these additional paths of knowledge.


This latest edition is almost completely new. It substantially expands upon the broad thematic focus of cultural context to explore the dual themes of the . . .

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