Article

Gerontology

Jill Quadagno and Sunshine Rote

in Sociology

ISBN: 9780199756384
Published online July 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0023
Gerontology

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Social gerontology is a subfield of gerontology. It is concerned mainly with the social, rather than the biological, aspects of aging. However, social gerontologists do study how biological processes influence the social conditions of aging. Societal aging is one of the most important social trends of this century. It affects the major political, social, and economic institutions as well as the nature of interpersonal and familial relationships. Key issues concern how population aging influences retirement patterns, income security, health care, and politics, and how these trends, in turn, affect the policy options available. Social gerontologists recognize, however, that old age is just one life stage and that the quality of later life is determined by events, opportunities, and decisions made earlier in life. Thus, many studies in this field adopt a framework that emphasizes the life course as a way to make sense of long-term trends and to explain differences among groups on the basis of race, gender, class, and ethnic origin. The life course perspective also provides a roadmap for thinking about how health, social relationships, and socioeconomic status change over time and across life stages.

Article.  9915 words. 

Subjects: Sociology ; Comparative and Historical Sociology ; Economic Sociology ; Gender and Sexuality ; Health, Illness, and Medicine ; Population and Demography ; Race and Ethnicity ; Social Movements and Social Change ; Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility ; Social Theory

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