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Lecture 4

GGRB13 Lecture 4 - Geographies of Age Life Course

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Shaun Tanaka

GGRB13 Lecture 4: Geographies of Age/Life Course (25 September 2013) Next week: guest lecture - Issues of race, racialization How is age socially constructed? - How different stages are socially constructed - Target for social concern – giving preference to certain groups - Children and elderly ‘powerless’ Age vs. Life Course - Expectations change through time and space o Ex. Retirement – wait for death at retirement home vs. staying active - Stereotypical view on old age – negativity Chronological Age - How many years have you lived? Or how many birthdays have you had? - Fixed in time o Laws – school, voting, drinking, work, criminal responsibility o Laws can be culturally different Physical Age - Judge based on appearance - Associating places with age, capability o Weird seeing an elderly woman snowboarding – not something you see often - Expectations on children – if you look older, you’re expected to act more mature - Expectations on adults – if you look younger, you’re well received - Class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. contribute to how we age Just for Men – narrating Age and Sex Appeal - Television advertisements - Women strive to look youthful, and men to look mature and masculine Social Age - How age is understood in society - What is age appropriate for your partner o Mediated through social norms - Clothing o Beauty pageants – young girls dressing up like women - Ageism – cultural prescribed norms about appropriate behavior for certain ages and the belief that all people have the same chronological age have other things in common GGRB13 Lecture 4: Geographies of Age/Life Course (25 September 2013) But when do we become an adult? - Not the same for everybody Children and the elderly (in Western society) - Similarities o Occupy ends of life course, outsiders o Economically dependent o Less physically and socially able o Heavy service users - Differences o Children  Growing mental and physical abilities  Gradually introduced to ‘real life’  Cute, lovable, innocent  Valuable, have potential  Worth educating and investing in  Strong cultural precedent for family care o Older people  Declining in mental and physical ability  Withdrawing from ‘real life’  Ugly, unloved, out of touch  Useless, finished  No point in educating or investing in  Weak cultural precedent of family care How are older people represented? - Out of touch – moving them into the periphery (grandparen
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