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Seminar 13

Seminar 13: Growing Old Old age is defined differently in every culture. It is not merely the final stage if life, uncomplicated and universally experienced. It has different meanings for different people and ‘the’ elderly are a very heterogeneous group. Key factors like gender, family position, and social and economic status determine how soon an individual would be seen as ‘old’, as of course did the more obvious factor of chronological age. In this seminar we will examine these variations within the experience of old age on the one hand, while also investigating how the construction of old age is also particular to a time and place. Seminar/Essay Questions:
  1. How is old age gendered?
  2. What difference did the establishment of state pensions make to the experience of old age?
  3. Why has old age acquired such prominence as a distinct social problem in the twentieth century?
Seminar Reading: D. Collins, ‘The Introduction of Old Age Pensions in Great Britain’ The Historical Journal 8 (1965) 246-259. M. Pugh, ‘Working-Class Experience and State Social Welfare, 1908-1914: Old Age Pensions Reconsidered’, The Historical Journal 45 (2002) 775-96. J. Roebuck, ‘When Does “Old Age Begin?: The Evolution of the English Definition’, Journal of Social History 12 (1979) 416-28. P. Thane, ‘Social Histories of Old Age and Aging’ Journal of Social History 37 (2003) 93-111. P. Townsend, ‘The Structured Dependency of the Elderly: A Creation of Social Policy in the Twentieth Century’ Aging and Society 1 (1981) 5-28.Additional Reading: L. Botelho and P. Thane, Women and Ageing in British Society Since 1500 (2001). A. Bowling, E. Grundy and M. Farquhar, Living Well Into Old Age: Three Studies of Health and Well-Being Among Older People in East London and Essex (1997). T. R. Cole and M.G. Winkler, The Oxford Book of Aging (1995). D. Collins, ‘The Introduction of Old Age Pensions in Great Britain’ The Historical Journal 8 (1965) 246-59. S.L. Engerman, ‘Economic History and Old Age’ The Journal of Economic History 56 (1996). J. Ford and R. Sinclair, Sixty Years On: Women Talk About Old Age (1987). K. Gardner, Age, Narrative and Migration: The Life Course and Life Histories of Bengali Elders in London (2002). L. Hannah, Inventing Retirement. The Development of Occupational Pensions in Britain (1986). J. Healy and S. Yarrow, Family Matters: Parents Living with Children in Old Age (1997). C.H. Hennessy and A. Walker, Growing Older: Quality of Life in Old Age (2004). P. Higgs and I. Rees Jones, Medical Sociology and Old Age: Towards a Sociology of Later Life (2007). S. Katz, Disciplining Old Age: The Formation of Gerontological Knowledge (1996). D.I. Kertzer, P. Laslett, Aging in the Past: Demography, Society, and Old Age (1995). P. Laslett, A Fresh Map of Life: Emergence of the Third Age (1996). J. Macnicol, Age Discrimination: An Historical and Contemporary Analysis (2006). A.S. Orloff, The Politics of Pensions: A Comparative Analysis of Britain, Canada and the United States, 1880-1940 (1993). C. Phillipson and A. Walker (eds.), Ageing and Social Policy. A Critical Assessment (1986). R. Smith, ‘The Structured Dependency of the Elderly: A Twentieth Century Creation?’, Society for the Social History of Medicine Bulletin 34 (1984) 35-41. J. Tenneson, Wise Women (2002). P. Thane, ‘Non-contributory versus insurance pensions’ in P. Thane (ed.), The Origins of British Social Policy (1978) 84-106. P. Thane, Old Age in English History: Past Experiences, Present Issues (2002). P. Thane and T.G. Parkin, The Long History of Old Age (2005). K. Thomas, ‘Age and Authority in early Modern England’ Proceedings of the British Academy 62 (1976) 205-48. D. Thomson, ‘The Decline of Social Welfare: Falling State Support for the Elderly since Early Victorian Times’ Ageing and Society 4 (1984) 451-82. D. Thomson, ‘Welfare and the Historians’, in L. Bonfield, R. Smith, and K. Wrightson (eds.), The World We Have Gained. Histories of Population and Social Structure (1986) 355-78. P. Townsend, The Family Life of Old People (1968). J.A. Vincent, C. Phillipson, and M. Downs, The Futures of Old Age (2006). A. Walker, The New Generational Contract: Intergenerational Relations, Old Age and Welfare (1996).