Human Development and the Life Course: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Human Development and the Life Course: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Human Development and the Life Course: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Human Development and the Life Course: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Excerpt

This volume addresses the strengths and limitations of a life-course perspective on human development. The life-course perspective has been variously described as offering a paradigmatic shift in conceptions of human development or as laying the foundation for a new discipline. More modestly, the perspective has been described as primarily an approach to guide research rather than a theory containing specific propositions. Accomplishing the goal set for this volume requires that a broad sweep of topical and disciplinary representation be undertaken. Thus, this volume contains chapters ranging across topics from the molecular genetics of aging to social structural constraints on life-span development, and methodologically from neurophysiological studies of the aging brain to people's phenomenological reconstruction of their life courses. The commonalities across chapters are a focus on the when, where, and why of change and stability across the life span and on interrelationships across domains and levels of analysis. The comprehensive coverage of the topics and disciplines represented by life- course research on human development should allow the reader to appreciate the considerable breadth and diversity of the life-course perspective.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SSRC LIFE-COURSE PROGRAM

A Committee on Life-Course Perspectives on Middle and Old Age was established by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in 1977 to employ a life-course perspective to gain a deeper understanding of middle and old age.

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