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Looking at later life: the study of old age in Britain and America

Reviewing Sociology

Author: Bernard, M.
Year: 1995
Type: Journal Article


A review essay on books by: J. Bond & P. Coleman (Eds), Ageing in Society - An Introduction to Social Gerontology (Sage, 1990); D. K. Harris, Sociology of Ageing (Harper & Row, 1990); S. M. Peace (Ed), Researching Social Gerontology - Concepts, Methods and Issues (Sage, 1990); P. Thompson, C. Itzin, & M. Abendstern, I Don't Feel Old - The Experience of Later Life (Oxford U Press, 1990); & C. R. Victor, Health and Health Care in Later Life (Open U Press, 1991 see listings in IRPS No. 85 ). These books represent recent US & British perspectives on the study of aging. The contents of each book are briefly described. While Harris's volume makes a valuable contribution, it suffers from inadequate treatment of the mediating function of culture in the aging process & is narrowly focused on North America. The Bond & Coleman book is a useful complement from a British perspective to the Harris volume, but fails to adequately treat the question of gender & aging. Peace's edited volume offers a set of empirical case studies from a British perspective. Of particular interest in this book is a discussion of the social & financial context of research on aging. These three volumes have a focus on the problems of old age, with little attention to the personal experiences of those who are old. Thompson's book, a collection of three sets of letters from different periods in which old people describe their own aging process, offers a partial remedy to this problem. The Victor book focuses on the current health status of older people, & their patterns of use of health & social services. It is suggested that future research consider issues of work & leisure, black & ethnic minority elder issues, homosexuality, & issues around social deviance.

Further Details

Pages 1-7
Volume 9
Issue 2
Accession Number 18.3.03
Keywords North America, Great Britain, older, health improvement

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