Sociology | Advanced Topics (The Life Course and Aging)
S660 | 3716 | Eliza Pavalko


The life course perspective focuses on how people age in the context
of changing societies.  From this perspective, aging is viewed as a
lifelong process rather than something particular to later life.  Of
particular interest are: 1) the patterns or trajectories that span
across one's life, such as patterns of family, work or health, 2) the
timing and nature of specific transitions within those patterns, such
as the transition to parenthood or unemployment and 3) the variation
in these processes across historical periods.  This approach thus
emphasizes both the importance of process and historical context for
understanding individual lives.

In this course, we will begin by examining the theoretical foundations
of the life course perspective and sociological views of age and
aging.  We will then turn to central concepts of the life course
perspective, such as cohorts, life transitions, normative patterns,
trajectory or career, and continuity and change among individuals over
the life course.  Finally, we will examine research on social change
and the life course.  Although this is not a methods course and no
statistical expertise is required, we will discuss techniques for
analyzing change across the life course and different types of data
that are appropriate for life course studies.  Course requirements
include class participation and reactions to readings and a final
research paper.