Haim Hazan is a leading specialist on old age in anthropology, and he has published several monographs on particular communities of old people. The present book is a general essay on the realities of old age, as it is experienced, as opposed to the ideas about the old current in western societies. It argues that the construction of this world by outsiders is inevitably affected by deeply ingrained social attitudes and structures, such as the spatial segregation of the aged as a category, and the fear of death with which they are associated. By approaching the subject from a social constructionist perspective, and drawing on a variety of detailed ethnographic accounts of the old, the author describes a unique and nuanced social world. This is a sophisticated and original book, which should have a significant impact on a field still dominated by a 'social problems' approach.
"Hazan's critical analysis is provocative...it raises issues for social science theoriists and researchers studying old age to ponder." Anne Foner, American Journal of Sociology "The alternative model that Hazan proposes has aspects that could make important contributions to our knowledge about aging, and as Hazan emphasizes, about the ways we do, or do not, acquire knowledge about any elements of human experience that combine biological, cultural, and personal aspects. The two most creative themes introduced in Hazan's alternative model are rooted in his own research: the perception of time by older persons, and their creation of new cultural frameworks in age-homogenous settings. The examples taken from the author's work in these areas are a tempting invitation to further pursuit of a knowledge of age that Hazan proposes should encompass both major facets of the aging experience..." Jennie Keith, American Scientist