Older Age and Personhood

  • Cathrine Degnen


In many Western contexts, older age is imagined as a threatening part of the life course whereby personhood might become lost. This chapter investigates why that might be the case, and contrasts these assumptions with other cultural understandings of personhood and later life. Older age is not universally framed around ideas of loss nor is maintaining youthfulness a universal virtue or imperative. Also explored here are the ways in which gender, socio-economic status, and sexuality (in conjunction with ageing) prompt salient distinctions in how personhood is constructed and experienced cross-culturally. Additionally, the chapter draws attention to the connections between personhood and the body in later life, namely in regard to how personhood is fashioned via substance, relationality, and embodiment.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathrine Degnen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography, Politics & SociologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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