Inequality and Old Age by John A Vincent

By John A Vincent

An research of growing old relating to identification formation, inequality and stratification. The booklet outlines a thought of social inequality which encompasses these inequalities linked to previous age - as well as category, gender, race and ethnicity. This booklet is meant for undergraduate and postgraduate sociology classes in social stratification and social concept, in addition to scholars and researchers in social coverage, social welfare and wellbeing and fitness with an curiosity within the learn of aging.

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Although, of course, because of other factors such as size of herds, size of families, and personality traits, there will be differences between age-grade members, the basic social role is attained by all. It is a feature of these societies 39 BEING OLD IN DIFFERENT SOCIETIES that they are what is called in the anthropological literature “acephalous”— literally headless. They do not have chiefs or pyramidal structures of authority, and in this respect they reflect the pastoral mode of production in which people are dispersed widely with their herds and where the possibility of central control is difficult (Weissleder 1978).

We can examine whether societies have a socially recognized category of “old people” (Ikels et al. 1992). We can look at how different cultures evaluate age and ageing, how they conceptualize the life course and its different elements, and make judgements about each part (Simmons 1970, Amoss & Harrell 1981). I will present three examples from different kinds of societies. These societies are differentiated in terms of their mode of production: hunting and gathering societies; tribal (horticultural or pastoral) peoples; peasant cultivators.

This public controversy focused primarily on the position of elderly people who required warmth for survival and whose pensions would not increase by an equivalent amount. The inequalities in the rest of society are reproduced in old age, and appear to be amplified. Inequalities of class interact with those of sex to produce a further strand of differentiation in old age. Two-thirds of pensioners are women, and in addition, 48 per cent of widows live at or below the Supplementary Benefit level (the poverty line in Britain) and women have the greater likelihood of being widowed.

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