Higgs, Paul: Social and Cultural Gerontology and the Importance of the Ageing Body, in Neumann, Christian Alexander (Hrsg.): Old Age before Modernity: Case Studies and Methodological Perspectives, 500 BC ‒ 1700 AD, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2023 (Online-Schriften des DHI Rom. Neue Reihe: Pubblicazioni online del DHI Roma. Nuova serie, Band 8), S. 263–277. https://doi.org/10.17885/heiup.1086.c14945

Identifier (Buch)

ISBN 978-3-96822-173-1 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-174-8 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-3-96822-175-5 (Softcover)




Paul Higgs

Social and Cultural Gerontology and the Importance of the Ageing Body

Abstract This chapter examines the emergence of cultural gerontology as an important approach to understanding ageing in contemporary society. It will outline its origins within longer established methodologies operating within mainstream gerontology which have been preoccupied with the interconnections between ageing and health. It will also discuss its relationship with the different approaches that emerged out of what has been called the “cultural turn” in the humanities and social sciences. Bringing these two themes together, this chapter will engage with how the ageing and older body becomes a site for examining the position and performativity of older people. Old age is both socially constructed and a recognition of a series of inexorable biological processes. Drawing on the idea that the corporeal dimensions of ageing are often neglected in cultural gerontology, the position is developed that a focus on how the older body is lived in different cultural contexts can deepen our understanding of not only contemporary ageing, but also of societies located in the historical past.