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Ageing, meaning and social structureConnecting critical and humanistic gerontology$
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Jan Baars, Joseph Dohmen, Amanda Grenier, and Chris Phillipson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447300908

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447300908.001.0001

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Connecting meaning with social structure: theoretical foundations

Connecting meaning with social structure: theoretical foundations

Chapter:
(p.10) (p.11) Two Connecting meaning with social structure: theoretical foundations
Source:
Ageing, meaning and social structure
Author(s):

Jan Baars

Chris Phillipson

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447300908.003.0002

This chapter explores questions about meaning, systemic structures and later life in the context of theoretical discussions within philosophy and sociology. The chapter first reviews the construction of meaning in later life, relating this to the characteristics of a late or post-traditional society. The discussion focuses in particular on trends towards 'individualization' and the question whether individual autonomy should be equated with independence. In particular, issues of recognition and inter-dependence in later life are considered. The second part of the chapter brings a discussion of the changing interrelations between systemic worlds and pluralizing life worlds in the context of globalization and their implications for ageing persons. The chapter concludes with an assessment of some of the arguments for theory and practice in critical gerontology, exploring the fundamental distinction between contingent and existential limitations.

Keywords:   Meaning in later life, Globalization, Systemic worlds and life worlds, Contingent ageing, Existential ageing, Autonomy and interdependence

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