Edited By Flocel Sabaté
Aging as Continuity and Change: Age as Personal and Social Transformation: Roberta Maierhofer
University of Graz
Since the 1980s, scholars in the field of cultural gerontology have turned to cultural manifestations to investigate ideas about the meaning of identity within the life course, and discuss models of aging presented in literature, art, and film. Within the interplay between the fields of sciences and humanities, textual representations are important sources that contribute towards understanding “identity in movement,” the matrix of time and experience within the many contexts in which a person moves over the duration of a life. Examining reactions to personal crises and turning points as expressed in cultural representations provides researchers with unique insights into the way individuals construct their lives. Sociologists have suggested that narratives or stories play a central part in the construction of lives, as what is meaningful about ourselves is expressed through the telling of stories. Whereas on the public level these stories communicate the significance of particular lives and communities for society as a whole, on the individual level the telling of stories is a medium for the integration of lives, for explaining discontinuities as well as continuities. The fluidity of identity opens up possibilities to move beyond the defined position of self and makes it not only possible but necessary to view family structure and relationships in new ways. If identity is defined by both continuity and change over a life course, the importance is to not only narrate one’s life, but also interpret these narrations in an ongoing process...
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