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date: 29 November 2021

Applying Anthropological Insight in an Aging Worldlocked

Applying Anthropological Insight in an Aging Worldlocked

  • Sherylyn BrillerSherylyn BrillerPurdue University
  •  and Erika CarrilloErika CarrilloPurdue University Department of Anthropology

Summary

Aging is a biological and sociocultural experience that occurs globally. Although aging is universal, ideas about aging and the life course vary widely and influence how aging and quality of life are perceived. Aging occurs both individually and collectively. Individuals have their own life stories and experiences shaped by cultural values, norms, and life course expectations. Anthropology’s attention to both scientific and humanistic ways of exploring what it means to be human is well suited to investigating how people live and age over time and in various locations. Like other anthropological subjects, one can explore aging in terms of human evolution as well as biological and cultural variation in aging experiences. Combining these topics to take a holistic perspective forms the subfield of the anthropology of aging. Given the breadth and scope of the anthropology of aging’s subject matter and global population aging, it is easy to see why this subfield is so fascinating to explore and work in as a career field. Numerous prior reviews cover the subfield’s origins and development and are highlighted. Homage is paid to the subfield’s history, and how to apply what has been learned to understanding a rapidly aging and socially changing world is discussed. As many have indicated, significant challenges and opportunities lie ahead.

Subjects

  • Applied Anthropology
  • Sociocultural Anthropology

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