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Broad age-bands that define the social status, permitted roles, and activities of those belonging to them. Transitions from one age-grade to the next are often major collectively organized social events with rites of passage marking the change of social status and role. Although the term can be applied in the modern industrial context, it is more commonly used in reference to pre-industrial societies where an age-grade system of stratification (dividing members into youths, maidens, elders, and so forth) is superimposed on the organizing tribal, lineage, or clan structure.

Subjects: Sociology.

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