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Age as a social construction

  • Meanings, roles and identities associated with being a particular age vary between societies
  • Different meanings associated with old age
  • Variations in the meanings of age in different societies
  • Age analyzed in terms of "social age"
  • Experience and social meaning of ages may differ between men and women
  • Interpretivists focus on the meanings attached to age categories their effects; thus, age categories are a product of social definitions (supports idea of age as socially constructed)
  • Social definition of old age varies between societies
  • Variations between societies of when old age begins and the social meanings attached to it supports idea of age as a social construction (see Themes and Perspectives p. 782 for examples)
  • No clear-cut definition of old age
  • Criticisms of functionalist disengagement theory of old age (p 784)
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