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Gerontology term paper

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"The second theoretical consideration is that the modal structures can be combined in pairs so that one semiotic square is superimposed on another. For example, having-to-be can be superimposed on wanting-tobe. The extra twist here is that the two squares can be in a compatible alignment (where having-to is aligned with wanting-to in the first corner of the joint square), or in an incompatible alignment (where having-to is aligned either with not-wanting-to-be or actively wanting-not-to-be). An actual narrative might, then, rotate two superimposed squares through possible combinations of compatibility and incompatibility. The point is, however, that every actual narrative whatsoever articulates possibilities of linguistic action granted by these underlying syntactic structures. This applies, therefore, to the narratives of gerontology about aging and the collective actant of aging: the aged. They trade on a semiotic narrativity built into their materials."
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"Although acknowledgement is due the contributions made in the literature, a concern is that the feminization of poverty argument in isolation also has the potential for distorting and simplifying the issue of old age poverty and for being politically divisive. It is maintained that gerontology scholars and activists need to move beyond the feminization of poverty argument to acknowledge how complexly the factors of race and gender are interlocked with the variable of social class in the United States. Emphasis on only one of these factors, gender, seriously misrepresents the phenomenon of poverty in later life, promotes policy and programming decisions whose efficacy is limited, and has the potential to undermine broad-based political coalitions seeking economic equality. In part, in the arguments which follow, recent criticisms of social science in general and specific criticisms of the feminization of poverty argument in particular are applied to the topic of the feminization of poverty in later life. Recent general criticisms explicated ways in which social science research and theory reflect racism, either by omission (such as through the untested assumption that research findings or theoretical formulations apply similarly across groups) or commission (such as through the use of biased research instruments). Writings on the feminization of poverty in later life revealed both types of errors: Authors tended to ignore the inextricable link between race and social class in the US and they bolstered their claims through selective utilization and interpretation of statistics."
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"It may quite possibly be that the society forces upon some elderly people a positivist paradigm that they themselves no longer inhabit. Starting from the predominating ontological assumptions within gerontology, one may carry out research work and care that, in certain cases, is incompatible with the meta-theoretical paradigm that defines reality for those individuals who have come farthest in their individuation process " who have, in short, approached a condition of gero-transcendence. This paper will examine assumptions of both the disengagement theory and its counter theories, and contrast them with the proposed metatheoretical paradigm of gero-transcendence. Finally, data from a national survey will be examined for empirical support for the gero-transcendence theory.

When Cumming et al. (1960) first published their tentative theory of aging, elaborating on it the year after, the theoretical discussions turned into something like a riot. The theory suggested that there was an intrinsic tendency to disengage and withdraw when one grew old; this was supposed to go hand in hand with the tendency of society to reject aging individuals. This theory not only ran counter to the widely accepted theory of activity but also challenged the personal values held by many gerontologists and their views of what reality ought to be like. Since many gerontologists enter the field with a mixture of humanism and scientific assumptions, feeling that old people are treated badly and wanting to study this scientifically, it is not surprising that the theory of disengagement was perceived as threatening and unacceptable. Thus a series of modifying or alternative explanations to the empirically observable pattern of disengagement was offered. Finally, social gerontology was provided with a new model which completely reduced the disengagement pattern to social psychology."
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