Ageing, Ritual and Social Change : Comparing the Secular and Religious in Eastern and Western Europe book cover
1st Edition

Ageing, Ritual and Social Change
Comparing the Secular and Religious in Eastern and Western Europe

ISBN 9781409452157
Published September 13, 2013 by Routledge
304 Pages

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Book Description

Exploring European changes in religious and secular beliefs and practices related to life passages, this book provides a deeper understanding of the impacts of social change on personal identity and adjustment across the life course, According to latest research, Europeans who consider religious services appropriate to mark life passages significantly outnumber those who declare themselves as believers. Drawing on fascinating oral histories of older people's memories in both Eastern and Western Europe, this book presents illuminating views on peoples' quests for existential meaning in later life. Ageing, Ritual and Social Change presents an invaluable resource for all those exploring issues of ageing, including those looking from perspectives of sociology and psychology of religion, social and oral history and East-Central European studies.



Peter G. Coleman is Professor of Psychogerontology at the University of Southampton, England, a joint appointment between the Faculties of Social & Human Sciences and of Medicine. Most of his research relates to mental health issues, especially the functions of reminiscence and sources of self-esteem and meaning in later life. In more recent years he has focused on the role of religion and spirituality with ageing. He is the author of Ageing and Reminiscence Processes: Social and Clinical Implications (Wiley 1986), Ageing and Development: Theories and Research with Ann O'Hanlon (Arnold, 2004), and Belief and Ageing: Spiritual Pathways in Later Life (Policy Press, 2011). He has co-edited textbooks for the British Society of Gerontology, and made contributions to various handbooks on the subjects of Gerontology, Clinical Psychology and Spirituality. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK). Daniela Koleva is Associate Professor at the Department for History and Theory of Culture, Sofia University. Her research is in the fields of oral history and anthropology of socialism and post-socialism, biographical and cultural memory, biographical methods, social constructivism. She has published a monograph on the 'normal life course' in socialist Bulgaria (Biography and Normality, 2002, in Bulgarian) and has (co)edited a few collective volumes and collections of life stories. Her current work is on vernacular memory of socialism in Bulgaria, everyday ethnic and religious identities and forms of their expression. Edited books include: Negotiating Normality: Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions. Transaction, forthcoming May 2012; 20 Years after the Collapse of Communism: Expectations, achievements and disillusions of 1989. (ed. with Nicolas Hayoz and Leszek Jesien), Peter Lang, 2011; Childhood under Socialism. (ed. with Ivan Elenkov) Sofia: CAS/Riva 2010 (in Bulgarian). Joanna Bornat is Emeritus Professor of oral history at the Open University having retired from that institution in 2009. She is joint editor of the journal Oral History and a committee member of the UK Oral History Society. She has a longstanding interest in oral history and ageing and her research interests include reminiscence in care settings, the oldest generation and family relationships, older women's lives, migration and ethnicity and community oral history. Most recently she has been involved in research which considers substantive, ethical and methodological issues in the re-use or secondary analysis of archived interviews. Recent books include: Bornat, J 'Remembering in Late Life: Generating individual and social change', in Donald Ritchie (ed) The Oxford Handbook to Oral History, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.


Prize: Winner of a Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award for 2014 'The editors and contributors deserve appreciation for undertaking this challenging comparative project. A significant multidisciplinary contribution to the literature on aging, religion/ritual, comparative oral history, and social change. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.' Choice ’The stories that have emerged from this endeavour are compelling - the more so since the individuals in question are allowed to speak for themselves. This is one reason why I am delighted to commend this important piece of research to the widest possible range of readers. There are many others.’ Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK 'Concern over an ageing society will be a primary issue driving social policy around the world in the next few decades. This impressive volume examines the impact of social and specifically religious change on the experience of ageing in two very different areas of Europe, and should be required reading for every interested policy maker and researcher.’ Vern L. Bengtson, University of Southern California, USA ’This book offers a valuable contribution to researchers in gerontology, the sociology of religion, and to the wider social sciences more generally... a fascinating book, with a depth of scholarship and a genuine commitment to the research process and the stories of elderly people living out their lives, their faith and their values in the context of social change.’ Ageing and Society ’This volume is a compelling and authoritative contribution to the literature that seeks to understand our quest for meaning in later life. The twelve essays, carefully organised and edited, make a significant contribution to our understanding of the nature of ageing in human society and within two different areas of Europe.’ Modern Believing