||Invitation to the Life Course: Toward New Understandings of Later Life
Richard A. Settersten, Jr.
Society and Aging Series, Jon Hendricks, Series Editor
You can read the Introduction for free right now, just click here.
IN PRAISE OF
"This is a timely book which approaches aging from a life course
perspective. It calls for a re-orientation in gerontology by focusing on the
variability of biographical experience in the contexts of historical, social,
institutional and personal time. In an era of "graying societies" with
a growing interest in biomedical models and genetic explanations of longevity,
this book is an important corrective against genetic engineering. The editor and
the contributors present a clear message: aging is a life-long process of
socially embedded choices of pathways, forms of living and working. This message
is pertinent not just for social gerontologists, but for life-span human
developmentalists, social policy researchers and social scientists who are
interested in an interdisciplinary approach to aging."
—Professor Walter R. Heinz, Director, Life Course Center, University of
"This is an excellent book that confronts the reader with the wide range of
complexities associated with time and the relevance of these complexities to the understanding of age and ageing. Collectively, the authors provide a
powerful argument, that by concentrating on the intersection of social and historical factors with personal biography, the life course perspective can be
used to move forward the field of ageing. While it is a challenge to develop a sense of coherence in an edited volume, the editor is to be congratulated in
developing a book in which the chapters are consistently well-written and relevant to the goal of using life course theory to
enhance scholarship on ageing and later life. The book should be on the required reading list of
gerontologists interested in theory development and application, especially for those willing
to wade into the contextual complexities of later life."
—Norah Keating, University of
Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, Ageing & Society, Volume 22, 2002
"I found the book both
refreshing and challenging. It is an excellent advanced reading for students and
researchers in the fields of developmental psychology, sociology and
Professor of Psychology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australasian
Journal on Ageing, Volume 22, Number 1, March 2003
"I recommend this book to anyone interested in acquiring an understanding of life course theory and
research. Across a wide spectrum of areas (e.g., work and retirement, health, leisure, families, policy), the
contributions point not only to the richness of a life course perspective, but also to
what's required for the perspective to realize even more fully its potential.
—Stephen J. Cutler, University of Vermont, "Hot Picks" column of the Spring 2003 newsletter of the
American Sociological Section on Aging and the Life Course
"This book contains an excellent collection of essays by scholars associated with the life course perspective.
It is a great introduction to the uses and controversies concerning the use of this perspective and the
promise of life course analysis for advancing our understanding of later life. I will be using it for my
graduate life course seminar in the fall."
—Christine L. Himes, Syracuse University, "Hot Picks" column of the Spring 2003 newsletter of the
American Sociological Section on Aging and the Life Course
"...Settersten and his collaborators are challenging (rather than inviting)
gerontologists to adopt a lifecourse perspective. ...the book is packed with
invaluable references and useful guidance, and I am happy to recommend it all
gerontologists inclined to take up the invitation."
—Bill Bytheway, The Open University, Milton Keynes, Cambridge University Press
ABOUT THE BOOK
Invitation to the Life Course: Toward New Understandings of Later Life discusses in depth the challenges of age, time, and social contexts for the
study of aging and later life. Understanding aging (as a process) and later life (as a period) must be accompanied by serious attention to the life
course. This brings significant challenges related to time, as
gerontologists must describe and explain life patterns over many decades. It also brings significant challenges related to place, as gerontologists must
examine how social contexts structure pathways into and through later life, and how those contexts affect the nature and meaning of experiences along
the way. This book is a natural extension of the editor's previous work, Lives in Time and Place: The Problems and Promises of Developmental Science
Invitation to the Life Course explores how greater attention to these matters might revolutionize scholarship on aging and later life. How might
it shift the questions we ask and the theories we use? How might it alter how we collect, analyze, and interpret data? And how might it affect how we
make and evaluate social policies and programs? It also considers the barriers that prevent the field from moving in these directions, and how
those barriers might be overcome.
This volume opens by introducing life-course concepts, principles, and methods (Chapter 1, by Richard Settersten) and considering their general
implications for scholarship on aging and later life (Chapter 2, Glen Elder and Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson). It then discusses the specific spheres of
work and retirement (Chapter 3, John Henretta), leisure and social participation (Chapter 4, Jon Hendricks and Steven Cutler), family (Chapter
5, Gunhild Hagestad), health and illness (Chapter 6, Linda George), social policy (Chapter 7, Richard Settersten), and 'successful aging' (Chapter 8,
Eva and Boaz Kahana). It concludes with extensive commentaries by renowned life-course scholars Dale Dannefer (Chapter 9), Christine Fry (Chapter 10),
and Leonard Cain (Chapter 11).
INTENDED AUDIENCE: Researchers in gerontology; researchers specializing in
other periods of human development, including childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, and midlife. Instructors and upper-level undergraduate and
graduate students in these fields. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the field of human development, this book will appeal to those in the
disciplines of anthropology, biology, history, psychology, and sociology, and in the fields of medicine and social work. This book is an important
resource for anyone interested in contemporary theory and research on aging and the life course.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard A. Settersten, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of
Sociology at Case Western Reserve University, where he is also Co-Director of the
Schubert Center for Child Development and Faculty Associate of the University
Center on Aging and Health. Settersten received his Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from
Northwestern University. He has also held fellowships at the Institute for Policy
Research at Northwestern University and the Max Planck Institute for Human
Development and Education in Berlin.
Dr. Settersten is the author of
Lives in Time and Place: The Problems and Promises of Developmental Science
Purchase both Settersten titles, Lives in Time and Place and Invitation
to the Life Course for the discounted price of $103.00 plus postage and handling.
here to order.
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