Student_Wk_03_Age_02

Student_Wk_03_Age_02 - Week Three: Age and Gender, Part Two...

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Week Three: Age and Gender, Part Two Three topics for today: 1. How is old age defined in America and elsewhere? 2. How are elders integrated in society and life? 3. How are elders given prestige -- or are they depreciated? How is old age defined in America and elsewhere? -Definition of old age has three major aspects -absolute age of person in years --passive biological characteristics (graying hair) -active behavioral characteristics (perform tasks, feats of strength) -Some societies: ‘old’ defined by activity of person, and systematically by gender -ex: Inuit: ‘old’ = no longer perform tasks; differs for men and women -men: hunting year-round; slows at 50 (no more winter hunting) -but hunt extra in spring/summer; marry younger women; will do repairs -women: cooking, sewing; slows at 60; can adopt children American society: ‘old’ defined by chronological age; cannot change it Ex: Age when one can receive Social Security benefits (in normal circumstances) Still: what is “chronologically old” has changed through time in the US -Sahyoun et al (2001) in Annual Editions : starts at 1900 -we will go back into 1800s -1800s: Americans thought 50 years was old; 60 was very old… -Less advanced medicine, difficult physical circumstances -Ex: Occurrence of death on the Westward Journeys on the Overland Trail -DR: During the years of the Westward Journeys on the Overland Trail 1 : -1840-1870: 250,000 Americans on Overland Trail -appx. 2400 miles; now continental US -Disease and accidents killed more emigrants than Indians -Cholera, typhoid, fall off or under wagon, wounds not healing, etc. -journey takes place during years of cholera epidemics -see gender difference in basic content of diaries: -men: fighting, conflict, competition, hunting -women: concerned with family, relational values -1 of every 5 women: in some stage of pregnancy; almost all women: caretakers of children -specific gender difference in the attitude towards death: -men: record deaths in aggregate numbers -women: note particulars of each grave site: -old or new -age: young person or adult -grave undisturbed or molested Turn to Sahyoun et al (2001) in Annual Editions ; highlights of article in class 1 Information from: Schlissel, Lillian. 1982. Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey . New York: Schocken Books.
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Student_Wk_03_Age_02 - Week Three: Age and Gender, Part Two...

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