SOC246 Class 2

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13 Feb 2012
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Class 2
Key Theories & concepts in sociology of aging
A tool to help understanding concept
Life Course Perspective (Glen Elder)
Emphasizes the process of aging => a series of pathways influenced by their life history,
early events, experiences
Series trajectories, transitions and turning points that happen to people’s life
Does not necessarily have to be negative but rather a change in direction
Qualitative types of changes, positive , or negative
Glen Elder
2 studies:
Oakland Growth study (birth Cohort 1920-1921)
Berkeley Guidance Study (birth cohort 1928 – 1929)
Researchers studied in early 1920s followed the same children overtime to observe actual
change (longitudinally)
Studied and followed these 2 cohorts into the 70s and beyond
Younger kids more influenced
negatively (Berkeley Cohort)
Berkeley => subjected to
negative change
Empty households
Mother had to look for jobs
Exposed to a lot of
uncertainty
Oakland Cohort was old enough
to enlist in the military vs.
Berkeley were too young to
enlist
Consequences:
Kids who struggled and serve the war => when they came back => more education
opportunities when they returned to the U.S. => available for Oakland Cohort
By getting out of the country when it was in depression gave them a lot more skills and
exp
exposed to engineering, skill trading on the job
Developing confidence, bonds => positive consequences for Oakland
Berkeley cohort tend to be less hopeful about their future, poorer mental health, marital
conflict
Oakland tend to do better than Berkeley cohort
One other cohort born in 1910 => experience the great depression and WWII => way more
negative than these 2 cohorts (not on the diagram)
At young 30s during WWII => started a job and marriage by then
WWII wasn’t an exp to get skills and start a new
They already started their lives
WWII is more a disruption rather than an opportunity for them
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