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SOC102H1 (285)

Age and inequalities Reading

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Lorne Tepperman

Oct 9 reading (1) Points 8: Age Relations and Ageism Ageism- all types of prejudice or discrimination against members of society based on an individual’s age (old or young) Functionalism -displacing people is both natural and crucial to society’s effectiveness -Elaine Cumming and William Henry’s theory “disengagement theory”- elderly people are weakest members of the population; therefore, society has displaced them from central positions of power and influence -mental and physical decline Critical theory -ageism is a form of inequality exercised by people in the middle ages (20-60) to further its own interests -young and old are less able to dominate (lack organization and power to influence public policy), so the middle age prevails Criticisms of disengagement theory: depicts humans as robots who contribute to the financial institution and wait to die after they leave; when in fact many individuals remain active and refuse to retire Symbolic interactionism age: state of mind shaped by the labels society applies eg. remaining happy and satisfied in the later stages of life depends largely on adopting a positive attitude towards aging Activity theory (Havighurst and Albrecht): people take on new roles as they age, instead of giving up their social roles (disengagement theory) -preserves a sense of continuity, helps people preserve their self-concept, and contributes to greater life satisfaction -self-identity vs. psychological well being Portrayals of elderly people: -women disappear from media as they age, more than men do -since movies try to appeal to teens and young adults (the largest group of moviegoers) older women are no longer allowed to act as love interests Feminist theories Aging for women: culturally defined loss of youth and glamour Aging for men: less concern for glamour -women and men age differently and they are subject to different expectations as young, middle-aged, and elderly humans -different places in the workforce: less pay and less likely to qualify for a private pension during the Oct 9 reading (2) years they are working -at risk of living alone on a meagre income forced to sell their homes and move to retirement homes Centuries of Childhood -Philippe Aries’ book -childhood, as we know it, is a cultural invention—a social construction (invented in late medieval Europe) -many children in the past had a very quick transition to adulthood since they were taught skills in housekeeping, education, and in war -with rise of mandatory public education in the 1800s, children gained education and was discouraged from the workforce (formally educated studentsbetter, stronger workforce) -growth of educationcultural childhood (similar with adolescence) Delinquency and Drift -David Matza -many people “drift into delinquency without a strong motivation to do harm, armed with little more than ‘techniques of neutralization’ -delinquents share the same values and attitudes as non-delinquents and need only the help of ‘neutralizing’ excuses to break rules Travis Hirschi - social controls, not moral values, preserve law and order -delinquents defy moral codes because their attachment to social convention is weak -they have nothing they are working toward, that would keep them busy and out of trouble Four social bonds that promote conformity: 1) attachment— to social conventions 2) commitment— involved in conventional activities (school, paid work), less likely to engage in criminal acts 3) involvement – in activities that support the conventional interests of society (music, sports) 4)belief— in laws and society, and in the institutions that enforce such laws Age group relations -age groups ally themselves against a common generational enemy -eg. grandchildren and grandparents may form stronger bonds than parent and children, because they share a common enemy (middle-aged parents) Changing age relations 1) Baby Boom- 1947-1967 -surge of childbearing that had been previously held in check by the Great Depression and WW2 2) Continuing high rates of immigration -slowed and masked the movement toward an older society *aging population is rising all over Canada, although many young people are drawn to provinces -Calgary is the youngest city (due to higher-than-average in-migration of young people looking for well- Oct 9 reading (3) paid work) with a median age of 35.7 years -west of Canada is younger than the east (more work opportunities in a pro
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