Ageing, meaning and social structure is a unique book advancing critical discourse in gerontology and makes a major contribution to understanding key social and ethical dilemmas facing ageing societies. It confronts and integrates approaches that have been relatively isolated from each other, and interrelates two major streams of thought within critical gerontology: analyses of structural issues in the context of political economy and humanistic perspectives on issues of existential meaning. The chapters, from a wide range of contributors, focus on major issues in ageing such as autonomy, agency, frailty, lifestyle, social isolation, dementia and professional challenges in social work and participatory research. This volume should be valuable reading for scholars and graduate students in gerontology and humanistic studies, as well as for policy makers and practitioners working in the field of ageing.
Jan Baars is Professor of Gerontology at the University of Humanistic Studies, the Netherlands. His most recent book is Aging and the Art of Life.
Joseph Dohmen is Professor in Philosophical and Practical Ethics at the University for Humanistic Studies, the Netherlands. He has written several books on Nietzsche and Foucault, art of living and self care.
Amanda Grenier is the Gilbrea Chair in Aging and Mental Health, and Associate Professor in Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University, Canada. She is the author of Transitions and the Lifecourse: Challenging the constructions of 'growing old' (Policy Press, 2012).
Chris Phillipson is Professor of Applied Social Studies and Social Gerontology, at the University of Manchester, UK. He is the co-editor (with Dale Dannefer) of the Sage Handbook of Social Gerontology and author of a forthcoming book called Ageing.
Introduction ~ Jan Baars and Chris Phillipson;
Connecting meaning with social structure: Theoretical foundations ~ Jan Baars and Chris Philipson;
My own life. Ethics, ageing and lifestyle ~Joseph Dohmen;
Rethinking agency in late life: structural and interpretive approaches ~ Amanda Grenier and Chris Phillipson;
Dementia: Beyond structures of medicalization and cultural neglect ~ Margreet Th.Bruens;
Self-realization and ageing: a spiritual perspective ~ Hanne Laceulle;
Social ability or social frailty? The balance between autonomy and connectedness in the lives of older people ~ Anja Machielse and Roelof Hortulanus;
Critical perspectives on social work with older people ~ Mo Ray;
Community-based participatory action research: opportunities and challenges for critical gerontology ~ Friederike Ziegler and Thomas Scharf;
Commentary: Contingent Ageing, Naturalization and Some Rays of Intellectual Hope ~ Dale Dannefer and Jielu Lin.
"A much-needed integration of two relatively new but flourishing areas of ageing studies, which have developed separately up to now. I gained fresh insights from each and every chapter." Peter G. Coleman, Professor of Psychogerontology, University of Southampton