From intimate reflections on life transitions, to the ways aging is transforming our political and economic world, this volume features ethnographic accounts on five continents from some of the leading voices in the field.
Transitions & Transformations
Cultural Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course
2013, Berghahn Books, 272 pages
Rapid population aging, once associated with only a select group of modern industrialized nations, has now become a topic of increasing global concern. This volume reframes aging on a global scale by illustrating the multiple ways it is embedded within individual, social, and cultural life courses. It presents a broad range of ethnographic work, introducing a variety of conceptual and methodological approaches to studying life-course transitions in conjunction with broader sociocultural transformations. Through detailed accounts, in such diverse settings as nursing homes in Sri Lanka, a factory in Massachusetts, cemeteries in Japan and clinics in Mexico, the authors explore not simply our understandings of growing older, but the interweaving of individual maturity and intergenerational relationships, social and economic institutions, and intimate experiences of gender, identity, and the body.
“…an important contribution to the field...excellent chapters within a comprehensive anthropological framework that touches on an increasingly important global demographic trend. The book counters the universalizing tendency of some disciplines to model aging after Western lifestyles.” · Philip B. Stafford, University of Indiana
“This is a well-crafted volume and an important addition to the literature on aging and the life course. It provides an invaluable cross-cultural perspective that emphasizes how the life course is framed within a cultural context and how cultures change over time. The chapters focus on a large number of ethnographic cases and are organized well for use by students or professionals wanting an updated overview.” · Dena Shenk, University of North Carolina Charlotte
“This volume is a welcome addition to [the literature], particularly because it speaks to concerns in the cross-cultural study of aging and in anthropology. It was a pleasure to read.” · Peter Collings, University of Florida