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Dannefer, Dale & Shura, Robin (2009). Experience, Social Structure and Later Life: Meaning and Old Age in an Aging Society.. Uhlenberg, Peter (Ed.) (pp. 747-755). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.


By definition the work of demographers entails not only analytical detachment but also the existential reductionism of personally momentous events to single datapoints. It may seem paradoxical that the assemblage of such discrete and singular bits of information for a society’s population can reveal patterns that provide key insights into the character of both intimate and complex aspects of individual experience and of cultural ideals. Indeed, it is not possible to understand social change in either the domains of the cultural (the collective symbolization of ideas and values) or the personal (the meaning-making processes and struggles within individuals’ everyday lives) without understanding demographic patterns and their role in shaping the domains of culture, value and individual opportunity. Nowhere can the impact of demographic patterns on ideas, values and meaning be more clearly seen than in the matter of human age.


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Book Section

Year Published


Series Title

International Handbooks of Population


Dannefer, Dale
Shura, Robin