Invitation to the Life Course: Towards new understandings of later life, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Invitation to the Life Course

Towards new understandings of later life, 1st Edition

By Richard Settersten


355 pages

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Invitation to the Life Course: Toward New Understandings of Later Life discusses in depth the challenges of age, time, and social contexts for the study of aging and later life. Understanding aging (as a process) and later life (as a period) must be accompanied by serious attention to the life course. This brings significant challenges related to time, as gerontologists must describe and explain life patterns over many decades. It also brings significant challenges related to place, as gerontologists must examine how social contexts structure pathways into and through later life, and how those contexts affect the nature and meaning of experiences along the way. This book is a natural extension of the editor's previous work, ""Lives in Time and Place: The Problems and Promises of Developmental Science"" (Baywood, 1999).

Table of Contents


Lives in Time and Place. Describes the aims of the volume and outlines each chapter.

Chapter One

The Study of Lives: Emerging Propositions and Controversies. Discusses propositions related to the study of lives from the standpoints of different disciplines, and explicates debates about the nature and rhythm of the life course in modern societies.

Chapter Two

Challenges Posed by Age and Age Structuring. Explores the meanings of age for individuals, groups, and societies, and the uses and measurement of age in developmental theory and research.

Chapter Three

Challenges Posed by Generation and Cohort. Discusses the significance of the concepts of generation and cohort, and strategies for handling them, in developmental scholarship.

Chapter Four

Challenges to Understanding Lives the Long Way. Introduces central concepts and parameters for describing the life course, and discusses the theoretical and methodological challenges associated with analyzing lives in and through time.

Chapter Five

Challenges Posed by Place and Other Issues. Addresses the significance of social contexts in shaping lives, and how social contexts might be better incorporated into developmental scholarship. Also introduces other important strategies for analyzing lives.

Chapter Six

An Agenda for Developmental Science. Highlights the most pressing challenges that must be confronted to usher in an exciting new era of theory and research on human development.



About the Series

Society and Aging Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health