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Chapter 8

Sociology Chapter 8.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Sociology Test 2 Review Chapter 8 Age Groups the biggest issue with age groups is that different generations grew up in different times and have a different perspective, these conflicting perspectives make it a challenge to find agreement between generations as all the interests are different for each generation as people age, age becomes less of a worry especially in the context of dating, however the meaning of age is always in flux and implications of this flux constantly need to change to meet the times or the need one big problem besides disagreement is prejudice and sterotypes, there are stereotypes and prejudice associated with any age group that tend to be specific to that age group - teens are reckless, old people are farts this is the issue of ageism which is discrimination based on one's age, because of perceived faults or lack of use Functionalism: Ageism this perspective views society being only as strong as it's weakest members and this leads to the disengagement theory the disengagement theory holds that elderly people are amoung the weakest in society and society has then found ways to displace them from central means of power and influence for the good of society, the elderly will give up their positions and withdraw to the edges of society where they wait for the inevitable each retirement that occurs empties a work position allowing someone from the next generation to move up and keep society functioning - without such turnover the economy would not be able to compete as it would be substantially more inefficient Critical Theory : Ageism Critical theorists argue that ageism does not serve society as a whole but is merely a form of inequality exercised by people in their middle ages to further their own interests when elderly people disengage it is not because of their own wish, but some one elses, since all age groups also hold different interests they all compete for dominance to enlarge their share of recourses in society the biggest implication of this is that the young and old lose the means to prevail since they are disadvantaged by the majority group - thus their interests are set aside Symbolic Interactionism: Ageism This perspective focuses on how we symbolize elderly people and enact aging in our society, this studies how socially constructed definitions of age affect a person's experience of growing old - it stresses that age is a state of mind shaped by the labels society applies this perspective stresses that rejecting the definition of old age as disabling to enjoy the older years happily This perspective holds the activity theory, which states that people dont disengage but rather take on new roles this provides a means to maintain a self concept, a sense of community and contributes to greater life satisfaction people that maintain a high level of activity age more successfully then people who do not it is worth noting that there is a double standard, older men have a different image than do older women Feminist Theories: Agesim for women aging is associated with a culturally defined loss of youth and glamour which is less of a concern for men Women more so than men are subject to different expectations as they age , ergo women dread getting old even though men and women lead similar lives these days, women still earn less than men and are less likely to qualify for a private sector pension during the years that they spend working sadly, since women tend to live longer than their partners, they are at a greater risk of having to live alone and in poverty , reduced income and exhausted savings hurt women even further at a societal level this contributes to the feminization of poverty Classic Studies : Centuries of Childhood Created by Philippe Aries, one of the most important works in the study of childhood in the context of sociology He argues that childhood was a social construction, as history shows us, older generations had less of a childhood and would be forced into a life of adulthood because of circumstances childhood only applied to some children, who were privileged and could be sent to a school, the children that could not be sent away would typically continue as an apprentice to an adult these kids lived in an adult world with adult concerns, so their transition to adulthood was smooth enough, they were socialized as adults not kids, they were to take on adult roles as this was the norm age was relatively unimportant before industrial times and there was no such thing as child hood it was not until the 16 th century that kids were seen as different, the emergence of childhood had a distinct effect, it produced segregation, kids were treated differently than adults - they had pre-adult developmental needs that had be fulfilled first children began to more segregated by formal schooling, in schools were kids were the most segregated could form their own aged based communities, these communities had their own norms, expectations and practices and this completely segregated kids from adults however the segregation effect poorly prepares kids for adult hood as many kids that come out of formal education struggle to get a job or get used to adult life Since the workforce demands more skill, the period of formal education increases and this had the effect of cultural childhood, where they are defined by marginality, behavioral irresponsibility and economic dependence Following pace, adolescence was created as a way of distinguishing young kids from older kids, namely marked by hormonal differences Youth: A time of risk taking youth are known for risk taking and being reckless in comparison to old people who are generally known as cautious and risk avoidant, however this recklessness has a cost and a wide variety of consequences risky behavior includes unsafe sex and drunk driving, for adults and the majority of society this is considered deviant as in they violate social norms and violate expectations but for the teenage subculture, this behavior is common and ordinary, perpetrators tend to be the same victims, as well the degree of reckless behavior is defined by age and gender ergo teenage males are highly likely of engaging in reckless behavior david matza classified this phenomena in his book delinquency and drift. Offenders drift into delinquency without a real motivation for wanting to cause harm and armed with techniques of neutralization matza believes that delinquents only need the help of neutralizing excuses to break rules a different take on this is from travis hirschi he holds that everyone has the potential to break norms, but it is those who have weak social controls, as in social controls provide order and law people defy typical conventions because the
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