Beyond appearances: perspectives on identity in later life and some implications for method.
Source TitleJournal of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
University of Melbourne Author/sBiggs, Simon
AffiliationSocial and Political Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBiggs, S. (2005). Beyond appearances: perspectives on identity in later life and some implications for method.. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci, 60 (3), pp.S118-S128. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/60.3.s118.
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Two areas of controversy are examined in this article, arising from contemporary debate on identity in later life. The first centers on whether adults are essentially similar regardless of age or whether different stages of life confer different life priorities. The second addresses the management of self in later life, with special attention being given to alternative interpretations of the relationship between interior and exterior experience. An increasing awareness of diversity in life-course patterns suggests that issues concerning uniformity, distinctiveness, and the uses of masquerade in intergenerational contexts should be revisited. Here, the influence of simple and complex states of mind is examined as a factor in intergenerational power, and the expression of agency in later life is discussed. These issues not only propel us forward in our understanding of gerontological phenomena, they also point to potential sources of research bias associated with specifically intergenerational contexts. Finally, suggestions are made with respect to research training.
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