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Introduction. Old Age before Modernity
Abstract Old age represents a complex and multifaceted topic that can be analysed from various disciplinary perspectives concerning both the past and the present. To better understand ageing and old age in premodern times, one first has to consider our present time. Due to fundamental demographic, social, political, economic and technological changes from the late 19th century onwards, mainly differences in ageing and old age, but also continuities become evident. After reflecting on the present time, the development of historical research concerning old age and of the strongly related topics of the ages of man and generational research is described. This volume also aims at integrating these still too separate lines. In the third part, a brief overview of gerontology with respect to its development and the current state of multi- and interdisciplinary research is provided. As more interdisciplinary entanglement between gerontology and the humanities would be desirable, the contributions from the field of gerontology – the psychology of ageing, social gerontology and cultural gerontology – collected here offer theoretical and methodological reflections with regard to the humanities and historical studies in particular. The articles from several humanistic disciplines intend to offer historical empirical evidence for the three perspectives mentioned. Furthermore, questions of intergenerational relationships are treated in each section.