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The Emotional Disturbances of Old Age

On the Articulation of Old-Age Mental Incapacity in Eighteenth-Century Tuscany

Mariana Labarca

This article explores the role attributed to disturbed emotions in the understanding of old-age mental incapacity in eighteenth-century Tuscany. It claims that interdiction procedures provided a fertile forum for the negotiation of what constituted mental incapacity in old age, which progressively involved a discussion on accepted or proper emotional reactions. Delving into the language employed in interdiction narratives, it argues that references to disturbed emotional states were increasingly employed as a means of providing evidence of disordered states of mind. It also suggests that the constituent elements of mental incapacity and the emotional reactions deemed indicative of its presence were dependent on the familial and sociocultural context in which the behavior was identified. Interdictions thus reveal the articulation of a collective, culturally embedded language of mental incapacity that was profoundly entrenched in the formulation of behavioral norms and the shaping of standards of emotional reaction.

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Home and Away

Place Appreciation and Purposeful Relocation in Later Life

Neil Thin

with frequent detachments. It illustrates this through ethnographic explorations of how older people in Western societies combine place-making, local mobility and longer-term relocation, in their pursuit of late-life flourishing. Old age, in theory and

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What Am I StIll Doing Here?

Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age

Robin Jarvis

old age becoming a reference point that most adults would aspire to.” As a consequence, Gilleard and Higgs argue, “Most if not all lifestyle cultural practices are institutionalized ‘anti-ageing’ strategies” (2000: 83). Among the components of this

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Attraction, Amusement, and Anxiety

Aging Women in Varanasi

Sheleyah A. Courtney

This article explores socio-cultural practices with regard to aging women in Vārānāsī, a city in North India. It is based on 17 months of field research carried out in 1999-2000 among marginalized Hindu women. I argue that aging is a continuous process that is characterized by the specific psychological patterns that form throughout a woman's life history. These patterns are demonstrated by women's particular types of behaviors and demeanors and, in turn, permit others to ascribe to them—in varying combinations and ratios—specific cultural values or qualities. I argue that these attributes are the critical ones that inform the cultural construction and designation of being 'middle-aged' and 'older' as it pertains to Hindu women of Vārānāsī.

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Lionel Blue

to be easing off in older age – what comes after or beyond might be a relief. Anyway, I’d like to get on and I am curious. My inner voice has never been a sadist, though we have had our ups and downs, so I am not bothered by unattractive heavens or

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Lawrence Cohen

This chapter engages both the irony of old age and the old age of irony. Building on an understanding of senility and dementia as reg- isters of voice, it makes three principal assertions: first, that a form of listeningwe might term ironic may allow for less depersonaliza- tion of those we hear to be senile; second, that an ironic relationship to the biologization of everythingavoids a return to nature/culture binaries; and third, that irony for both Plato and for Vico is framed as a temporal register of the aging of things. Using Socrates as an example of a figure whose aging is outside of nature yet under the law, the essay explores the tension between living with the difficult elderly and seeking to displace them in order to maintain the time- lessness of culture.

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Irene Bloomfield

Old age is not popular in western society. The former veneration connection between age and wisdom has virtually ceased to exist, and reactions toward elderly people are frequently of pity, exasperation or even tempt, but the life expectancy of people today is ten years more than the end of World War Two and twenty to thirty more than at the beginning this century, so that there are a lot more of us around, and it has become necessary for psychotherapists to take notice of a hitherto much neglected the population.

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Arvind K. Joshi

The aged in India have conventionally enjoyed privileges within the framework of a social economy where the needs of the old remained a moral responsibility of family, kith and kin. However the present changing times have forced a shift in the approach to old age care. The old person finds him- or herself in a sticky situation, in between an insensitive state and the demands of globalization. The present paper situates this problem within the framework of globalization and systematically measures the strategic response of the state to this daunting challenge, with respect to economic security and health care in particular. In the conclusion, the paper argues for a rejection of the conventional welfare approach and it advocates an integrated approach based on a coherent social development perspective within the valuation framework of social quality.

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Securing Intergenerational Kin Relationships and a House of One's Own

Muslims' Ways of Ageing Well in Kerala, India

Willemijn de Jong

The author explores trajectories of creating well-being with regard to old age in a poor Muslim community in Kerala, India. Theoretically, she draws on the nonstate-led concept of 'inclusive social security' and links it with the anthropology of the house. In doing so she takes approaches of 'making' kinship, gender, age as well as citizenship into account. Care and respect for the elderly result from strong but gendered intergenerational kin relationships in and around the house, which they establish for a large part themselves. Governmental and civil provisions play an enabling or supplementary role. Elderly women, particularly widows, benefit from property relationships that are less gendered. Surprisingly, there is a remarkable tendency of creating house ownership, and thus of bargaining power, for women in this community. It is suggested that this is effected by a combination of Muslim inheritance rules, recent dowry-giving practices and Kerala's matrilineal history.

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Louis Chauvel

"Youth" was once defined as the 15 to 24 year old age group. Today in France one sees a "first youth" (dependent on family and school) and a "second youth" in their twenties sharply divided between a successful elite with top degrees (or family wealth) and a highly marginalized workingclass. Between these extremes, a middle group often experiences frustration and anomie when their university degrees fail to launch the careers they desired. A "third youth" of thirty-somethings has also emerged still dependent on their families and the state. The French corporatist welfare regime, moreover, makes women, immigrants, and the young structural outsiders who must compete harder than Caucasian middle-aged men for jobs. Setbacks early in life in the labor market have long-term consequences (scarring effects) both for individuals and for the birth cohort as a whole. The political consequences are difficult to forecast, but much of the recent political volatility in France can be traced to these generational dynamics and failure to integrate youth since the late 1970s.