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SOC 107 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Hegemonic Masculinity, Gerontology, Emerging Adulthood And Early Adulthood

Course Code
SOC 107
Tonya Davidson
Study Guide

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Marxist critiques of aging
What is an adult?
· “ideological dominance of adulthood” (Raby, p 148)
· Ageism and economic productivity
· Privileged stage of life because adults work
· Adulthood is good for capitalism
· Age norms are valuable to the functioning of society and necessarily enforced through
social control
· Any deviation from the norms that dictate our behaviour will lead to disorder in society.
Symbolic Internationalist
Age norms
oAge appropriateness
Careers are considered satisfactory if we “make the grade” at the
appropriate age
oAge consciousness
· Symbolic interactionists stress that the changes associated with old age, in and of
themselves, have no inherent meaning. Nothing in the nature of aging creates any
particular, defined set of attitudes. Rather, attitudes toward the elderly are rooted in
· symbolic interactionist perspective focus on how elders’ identities are created through
their interactions
· The life course: “refers to our lives, from infancy to death, and includes consideration of
‘the way in which social institutions shape and institutionalize individual lives’(Settersten
and Mayer, 1997, 234 in Raby, p. 133)
1) Childhood (birth – 12 years old)
· Emerged with industrialization and the growth of a middle class
· Value placed on children and childhood affected by economic means of production
· Dominant understanding of childhood is to protect the vulnerable child
· The Vulnerable Child:
· “free-range” parenting
· Are playgrounds too safe?
· The Future Adult:
· Developmentalism– an approach to understanding and studying children and adults that
focuses on gradual, chronological, incremental biological, cognitive, and/or
psychosocial changes that people are thought to pass through as they grow up and grow
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2) Adolescence (12- 19 years)
· Between puberty and the end of compulsory education
· The “adolescent” emerged in the early 20th century with industrialization
· Concerns about youth delinquency
· Emergence of policing youth
· The “teenager” emerged in the mid-20th century
· Increase in consumer power of the teenager
3) Emerging Adulthood (19-30)
· In our current moment seem as a prolonged youth
· Emerged with pressures for prolonged schooling
· In 1981 12% of 25-29 year olds lived with their parents, in 2006 26% of this age group
lived with their parents
4) Middle Adulthood (30-65 years)
· The peak period of adulthood
· Economic peak
· Social power peak
· Popular myth of the “midlife crisis”
· Empty nest
· Sandwich generation
5) Late Adulthood (60 +)
· Third age: the “young old” 60-74
· Face the “silver ceiling”
· Debate over mandatory retirement
· Fourth age: the “old old” 75+
· Understood as vulnerable, infantilized
Gerontology – The multidisciplinary study of aging, with a focus on late life. For some,
gerontology’s primary forcus is biology; for others, gerontology encompasses a wide
range of areas, including the body and social factors such as behaviours, attitudes, and the
Gerontology: the study of the social aspects of aging
Social gerontology
· One of the primary purposes of social gerontology is to debunk myths that are
constructed around growing older
o Ex aging means physical inactivity
Critical gerontology
· How we age, how we understand the elderly, varies over time and across cultures.
· Aging includes physical, emotional, psychological and social changes.
· North American culture privileges youth and encouraging ageism.
Studies the power inequalities produced through social understandings of aging
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· Discrimination based on age
Reasons for ageism:
· Discomfort with mortality
· Tyranny of youth
· Generational segregation
· Longer road to adulthood
· “30 is the new 20”
· Brain not fully developed until mid 20s
· Identify two phenomena experienced by adults in middle age.
· Define gerontology.
· How was the transition into adulthood for baby boomers different than their children’s
emerging adulthood??!?!?!!!?
Roles, Presentation of Self in Everyday life and Fashion
· We understand ourselves and others through understanding social roles and statuses,
physical attributes and discourse.
Roles are scripts that both permit and oblige behaviours.
Require mutual understanding.
Are known through violations of role expectations.
Failed communication occurs when:
Roles are unclear due to new social situations
Roles are unclear due to cultural differences
· According to Goffman, social interaction requires a deliberate presentation of self, and
impression management.
· E. Goffman’s picture of humans as strategic, manipulative, sometimes insincere managers
of impressions? In what ways might contrived performances be necessary for maintaining
social order
· According to Simmel, fashion has two key characteristics: imitation and demarcation.
· Distinction and imitation are thus two faces of the same coin: one imitates an idealised
other in order to distinguish oneself from the rest, and also by changing ones imitative
· The ‘hipster’ is a figure that embodies both the idea of conspicuous consumption
Mark Greif (2010):
Hipster loathing/ calling-out is part of the strategy of distinction
From a Goffmanesque perspective:
Naming hipsters is calls bluff on impression management, disregards social
conventions of mutual protection
· Bourdieu’s understanding of ‘taste’
Taste is:
Not stable or peaceful
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