1932

Abstract

The construct of age occupies a curious position in mainstream sociology: It is omnipresent but theoretically underdeveloped. The most prevalent approaches—age as control variable and age as life course—elide the aspect of age most relevant to the discipline, namely its operation as a system of inequality. Building on the foundation laid by scholars of life course sociology, age studies, and gerontology, I propose a new framework for thinking about age. The framework integrates insights from these fields and identifies inequality as a key axis on which several dimensions of age turn, thus placing age squarely in the domain of sociological research centering on inequalities. The article concludes with a discussion of how this framework can enhance the empirical and theoretical contributions of age-focused research. In particular, research that delves into how institutions, performances, and identities reproduce age inequality flows from this framework and constitutes a valuable contribution in its own right. Moreover, such an orientation positions the sociology of age as integral to the discipline, given its commitment to understanding how inequalities infuse social life.

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2022-07-29
2024-04-24
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