16 - Aging Cohorts Pop Aging

16 - Aging Cohorts Pop Aging - SOCI 121: Population...

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SOCI 121: Population Problems A GE C OHORTS AND P OPULATION A GING Objectives: Talk about age cohorts and why they are important to demographic study Explain the relationship between cohort, period, and age Discuss population aging Class Notes: Age and Age Cohorts Age and sex influence the working of society in important ways because society assigns social roles and frequently organizes people into groups on the basis of their age and gender. o Age is a biological characteristic, but it is constantly changing, whereas sex is biological in nature, but does not change (except by human intervention in rare cases). It is this constant changing nature of age that creates a dynamic social process, because younger people are treated differently from old people and different behavior are expected of people as they move through different ages. At the same time, biological changes inherent in the aging process influence what societies expect of people and influence how people behave. At very young and very old ages, people are more dependent on others for survival, and so the proportions of people at these ages will influence how society works. o The idea that societies have separate sets of socially expected roles and obligations for people of different ages is captured by the concept of age stratification , whereas cohort flow captures the notion that at each age we are influenced by the historical circumstances that similarly affect other people who are the same age. The perspective of age stratification and cohorts integrates these concepts in a way that helps explain social change, and thus helps us understand how and why the age transition is a predictable component of the demographic transition. The age stratification theory begins with the proposition that age is the basis of social differentiation in a manner analogous to stratification by social class. The term stratification implies a set of inequalities, and in this case it refers to societal distribution of resources unequally by age. o These resources include not only economic goods but also such crucial intangibles such as social approval, acceptance, and respect. o This theory is not a mere description of status; it introduces a dynamic element by recognizing that aging is a process of social mobility. As individuals age, they move within a social hierarchy. They go from one set of age-related social roles to 1
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SOCI 121: Population Problems another and at each level they receive greater or lesser rewards than before. What aspects of life are influenced by age? o A number of important spheres of life are influenced by age. Among these are demographic, social, and economic aspects. Demographic aspects include health, sexuality, childbearing, or migration.
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2008 for the course SOCI 121 taught by Professor Lazar during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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16 - Aging Cohorts Pop Aging - SOCI 121: Population...

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