Handbook of Communication and Aging Research

Handbook of Communication and Aging Research

Handbook of Communication and Aging Research

Handbook of Communication and Aging Research

Synopsis

This second edition of the "Handbook of Communication and Aging Research" captures the ever-changing and expanding domain of aging research. Much like the first edition, this handbook sets out to demonstrate that aging is not only an individual proc

Excerpt

A simultaneous growth in the discipline of communication and in the population of elderly individuals across the world has produced an explosion of research investigating various aspects of communication and aging. This has taken place against the backdrop of traditional gerontology, which has for the most part been heavily influenced by theories in mainstream biology, psychology, sociology, and medicine, and has focused on demography, personality, use of social services, uptake of and satisfaction with health care, and intergenerational attitudes. the field of social gerontology is relatively new, innovative, and prolific, but still not well organized; perhaps because of this, the centrality of communication in studies of aging is not yet well enough established. Yet, communication and aging is at the forefront of the new wave of gerontology, giving priority to aging as one of the range of issues currently being scrutinized by the social sciences.

Since it was first recognized that there is more to social aging than demography, gerontology has needed a communication perspective. This handbook sets out to demonstrate that aging is not only, or not even in the main, an individual process, but an interactive process. It is the study of communication that can lead us to understand what it means to grow old. It is the social imagery of aging and the way in which aging is culturally constituted and constructed that gives us access to social reality (see Berger & Luckman, 1966; Potter & Wetherell, 1987). We may age physiologically and of course chronologically, but our social aging -- how we behave, as social actors, toward others, and even how we align ourselves with or come to understand the signs of difference or change as we age -- are phenomena achieved primarily through communication experiences. For Shotter and . . .

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