Journal Article

Tracing the Course of Theoretical Development in the Sociology of Aging<sup>1</sup>

Robert J. Lynott and Patricia Passuth Lynott

in The Gerontologist

Published on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America

Volume 36, issue 6, pages 749-760
Published in print December 1996 | ISSN: 0016-9013
e-ISSN: 1758-5341 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geront/36.6.749
Tracing the Course of Theoretical Development in the Sociology of Aging1

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The emergence of sociological theorizing in the field of aging is described as a sequence of two transformations in gerontological thinking. Each transformation signals a principal change in the conception of the nature and practice of gerontological inquiry. The first transformation was marked by Cumming and Henry's book Growing Old: The Process of Disengagement (1961), in which a formal theory of aging is laid out for the first time by social scientists. This set the stage for the development of a range of alternative theoretical challenges. There is a second transformation that began in the late 1970s and early 80s which involved not so much the recognition of theory as a reflection of that recognition itself, being metatheoretical. The issues raised represented a fundamental concern with the so-called “facts” of aging themselves, focusing on the socially constructive and ideological features of age conceptualizations — social phenomenological and Marxist concerns, respectively. More recently (in the late 1980s and early 90s), social gerontologists have turned to critical theory and feminist perspectives to also examine these issues.

Keywords: Theory; Aging theory; Sociological theory; Sociology of aging

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine ; Biological Sciences ; Psychology ; Gerontology and Ageing

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