1932

Abstract

Age as an individual characteristic is ubiquitous in social science research because it has important associations with numerous outcomes of interest. Yet age is rarely treated as a phenomenon that requires explanation or theoretical attention. To advance research in sociology and beyond, we bring together previously siloed literatures on the conceptualization and measurement of age. Our framework presents age as a system of inequality that can be understood through concepts and processes that operate at multiple levels of analysis. At the individual level, we argue age is best conceptualized and operationalized as multidimensional. We review a range of measures, from birth cohort to physical appearance, that can be fruitfully combined in empirical research to account for this complexity. The multidimensionality of age also highlights how it is “done” in interactions, connecting the social construction of age to the intersectional production of inequality.

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2023-07-31
2024-04-20
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