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Age Stratification


Uhlenberg, Peter & Dannefer, Dale (2007). Age Stratification.. Birren, James E. (Ed.) (pp. 49-57). San Diego: Academic Press.


Age stratification is a conceptual framework for exploring both how individuals age over the life course and what meaning is given to age in a society. This framework was developed by Matilda White Riley and her associates in the 1970s, and the term is still identified with her name. As a conceptual orientation, age stratification gives attention both to the individuals who occupy the various age strata in a population and to the social structures that use age to shape the behavior of those individuals. It gives special attention to changes over time in the experience of aging and to changes over time in relationships between age strata. This perspective insists that we recognize that human aging is, to a large extent, socially constructed. An important implication of this perspective is that the ways in which individuals age can and do change over time. In view of the breadth of the perspective and also in view of the sometimes confusing and multiple connotations of the general concept of stratification, Riley later preferred to call it the aging and society perspective.


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Uhlenberg, Peter
Dannefer, Dale