Chapter

RETHINKING AGING: RETHINKING AGING: THE STORY OF MY LIFE

William L Randall and A. Elizabeth McKim

in Reading Our Lives

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780195306873
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199894062 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306873.003.0001
RETHINKING AGING: RETHINKING AGING: THE STORY OF MY LIFE

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This chapter prepares for an exploration of the poetics of aging by introducing a narrative approach to gerontology, one that focuses on the inside of aging, or biographical aging, instead of its outside, i.e., biological aging. Discussed as well is the intrinsic interdisciplinarity of the metaphor of life-as-story, recognized increasingly across numerous disciplines as a paradigm for understanding human experience. The chapter also considers how postmodern theories of text and textualization apply to the notion of lifestory, and the consequences of such theories for concepts of personal identity. In particular, it introduces the idea that reading life, like reading literature, is an intricate, interpretive activity — one we are engaged in anyway, if largely unconsciously, all of the time. By better understanding the dynamics of this process, however, we can undertake it more deliberately, in the process developing a reflective and indeed ironic stance toward our lives which this book calls literary self-literacy.

Keywords: biographical aging; gerontology; interdisciplinarity; ironic stance; lifestory; literary self-literacy; narrative; poetics of aging; textualization

Chapter.  8765 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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