Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 4 » Status of Older People: Modernization - The Modernization Story, Modernization Theory And The Study Of Aging, Critiques Of Modernization Theory, Modernization Theory And Social Gerontology

Status of Older People: Modernization - Modernization Theory And Social Gerontology

age aging aging age press university

The social processes involved in societal modernization have profound effects on all people living in modernizing societies, including people of advanced age. Industrialization changed the way goods and services were produced and where production occurred. The rise of mass education expanded literacy and exposed people to new ideas and practices in science and technology. Family forms, cultural values, and other social institutions were not immune from changes resulting from modernization processes. Despite its shortcomings, modernization, as a conceptual framework, provides a useful way to understand some of the processes and effects of the social transformations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By considering the interrelationships between various types and paces of change, important insights about the potential effects of broad social transformations on societies and the people living in them have been gained.

Formal modernization theory provided a platform upon which historians and social scientists could ask research questions designed to better understand how older people fared under rapidly changing social circumstances. While it is a valid critique that modernization theory alone oversimplifies the complex processes and interactions that condition the status of older people in their social worlds, it is also true that modernization theory spurred thoughtful and sustained research designed to prove or disprove its assumptions. This research, building on the pioneering work of modernization theorists, has provided key findings that have clarified our understanding of the myriad and evolving roles of elderly persons in modern and modernizing societies. It has helped us to understand the complex interactions between changes in a society’s social structure and people’s racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural positions, and the outcomes that these complex social relationships generate.

DEBRA STREET LORI PARHAM

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABEL, E. K. ‘‘Parental Dependence and Filial Responsibility in the Nineteenth Century: Hial Hawley and Emily Hawley Gillespie, 1884–1885.’’ The Gerontologist 32 (1992): 519–526.

ACHENBAUM, A. W. Old Age in the New Land. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.

BRADSHAW, Y., and WALLACE, M. Global Inequalities. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 1996.

COLE, T. The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

COWGILL, D. O. ‘‘Aging and Modernization: A Revision of the Theory.’’ In Communities and Environmental Policy. Edited by Jaber F. Gubrium Communities and Environmental Policy. Springfield, Ill.: Charles Thomas, 1993. Pages 124–146.

COWGILL, D. O., and HOLMES, L. D., eds. Aging and Modernization. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1972.

DEMOS, J. ‘‘Old Age in Early New England.’’ In Turning Points: Historical and Sociological Essays on the Family. Edited by J. Demos and S. Boocock. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

DE VOS, S. ‘‘Extended Family Living Among Older People in Six Latin American Countries.’’ Journal of Gerontology 45, no. 3 (1991): S87–94.

FISCHER, D. H. Growing Old in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

FONER, N. ‘‘Age and Social Change.’’ In Age and Anthropological Theory. Edited by David I. Kertzer and Jennie Keith Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984. Pages 195–216.

HAREVEN, T. ‘‘Aging and Generational Relations: A Historical and Lifecourse Perspective.’’ Annual Review of Sociology 20 (1994): 437–461.

HENDRICKS, J., and DAVIS, H. C. ‘‘The Age Old Question of Old-Age: Was It Really So Much Better Back When?’’ International Journal of Aging and Human Development 8 (1978): 139–154.

LASLETT, P. ‘‘Societal Development and Aging.’’ In Handbook of Aging and Social Sciences. Edited by Robert H. Binstock and Ethel Shanas. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1976. Pages 57–116.

MINOIS, G. History of Old Age. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

PALMORE, E. B., and MANTON, K. ‘‘Modernization and Status of the Aged: International Correlations.’’ Journal of Gerontology 29 (1974): 205–210.

QUADAGNO, J. Aging in Early Industrial Society: Work, Family and Social Policy in Nineteenth Century England. New York: Academic Press, 1982.

RHOADS, E. ‘‘Reevaulation of the Aging and Modernization Theory: The Samoan Evidence.’’ Gerontologist 24 (1984): 243–250.

STEARNS, P. N. Old Age in European Society. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1977.

THORSON, J. A. Aging in a Changing Society. New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 1995.

WILSON, M. For Men and Elders. London: International African Institute, 1977.

[back] Status of Older People: Modernization - Critiques Of Modernization Theory

User Comments

The following comments are not guaranteed to be that of a trained medical professional. Please consult your physician for advice.

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or