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SOC246H1 (58)

sociology of aging

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Ageism is a complex phenomenon e stories of my interviewees demonstrate what is like to grow old and to look old in a culture that valorizes youth and stigmatizes old age While the intensity varies respondents are motivated to ght aging to resist being seen as old and to develop strategies to manage their old bodies so they appear more youthful Resistance to old age is not surprising It makes sense It is a way of ghting invisibility of resisting exclusion of trying to maintain positive cultural capital e qualitative nature of this study deepens our understanding of inequality and oppression It allows us to see how old people make sense of their aging how their resistance to aging becomes a struggle and how in these struggles they reproduce the very ageism that set them on the path in the rst place e strategies of accommodation and complicity are full of tensions Resisting looking old makes one a good and moral person but highlights the selfimposed nature of this work and engages the oppressed within Furthermore these men and women are ghting a losing battle with the ravages of time Blaikie 199986 as the work to conceal old age becomes more and more labor intensive As Holstein 1996318 reminds us aging bodies mean that Instead of a habitual body that we might ignore we gain an attentiondemanding body is article also examines the relationships between age and other forms of inequality illustrating how ageism interacts with other forms of discrimination such as sexism and heterosexism and revealing how ageism is both similar and dierent across various groups Calasanti and Slevin 2001 At the same time the data suggest how age relations dier from other forms of inequality because age is a status into which we pass not one into which we are born Accordingly the oppression that accompanies aging is uid and constructed Furthermore while a desire for inclusionfor
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