Gender and the Life Course is an interdisciplinary collection of
essays on the lives of women and men as they are affected by
history, culture, demography, economic and political
stratification, and the biopsychological processes that attend
maturation and aging. The book covers three major topics. Part I,
which examines gender and the life course in broad historical
perspective, includes a summary of recent work in biological
ecology and primatology, and an analysis of the persistence of
cultural and gender differences in role organization in societies
undergoing the transition from agrarianism to industrialism. Other
essays trace the changes in sources of household income of
industrial workers over the life span, and review temporal and
gender differences in life span transitions.
Part II examines gender differentiation in a variety of
contexts: psychological, psychobiologi-cal, and sociological. Alice
Rossi's ASA Presidential Address reviews recent work on fathering
and mothering, and argues that sociological explanations of such
gender differences need supplementation by concepts from
evolutionary theory and the neurosciences. Three essays deal with
gender and economy: one shows how gender stratification took hold
in the early stages of industrialization in France, another
demonstrates the persistence of gender stratification in modern
economies, the third focuses on ideology in relation to gender and
Part III examines various aspects of the aged in contemporary
society, including an argument for an jnterpretive social science
that uses diverse methods to improve our ability to describe and
interpret many facets of the lives of elderly men and women; a
review of the methodology used to study changes in the aged
population over time; and an overview of existing data sets that
permit further cohort and longitudinal analyses of the aged. The
final essays review social policies as they affect the elderly,
with particular attention to the fact that most very old people are
women, and the impact of the greatly expanded life course for
family and kin relations.
"Gender and the Life Course "is a state-of-the-art assessment
of the best work currently being done' on gender and age a's
maturational factors and is essential reading for anyone interested
in adult development and gender roles.
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