Blurring The Boundaries: The Declining Significance of Age

Blurring The Boundaries: The Declining Significance of Age

by Jack Levin
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0415503825

ISBN-13: 2900415503821

Pub. Date: 12/12/2012

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Over the decades, the lines separating young- middle-aged-, and older adults have blurred, as indicated by a broadening of the appropriate years for making life decisions. Not only are many people marrying later, but some are marrying earlier than ever. Overall, women giving birth later, but some are having children earlier in their lives. Older people are retiring

Overview

Over the decades, the lines separating young- middle-aged-, and older adults have blurred, as indicated by a broadening of the appropriate years for making life decisions. Not only are many people marrying later, but some are marrying earlier than ever. Overall, women giving birth later, but some are having children earlier in their lives. Older people are retiring later, but some are retiring at a younger age. The spread or variability (standard deviation) of age-based decisions has increased substantially, giving adults greater freedom from the traditional constraints of age. With these relaxed age norms has come a host of related social problems. The relaxation of age norms for adult decision-making has inadvertently blurred the boundaries between adults and teenagers, between teenagers and children. This generalization of the phenomenon throughout the life cycle is responsible for the adultification of childhood.

Eight year old girls are, to an increasing extent, being treated as sexual objects; bullying peaks in the 6th grade; larger numbers of girls are having oral sex or sexual intercourse by the age of 15; the pregnancy rate for girls 13-15 is on the rise; we are in the process of dismantling the juvenile justice system in favor of adult forms of punishment; and more and more children are left without adult supervision in the afternoons, as though they were miniature adults who are capable of raising themselves.

Jack Levin is the American Sociological Association’s 2009 Winner of the “Public Understanding of Sociology” Award. This short book communicates the power and importance of sociological thinking to major, worldwide social trends. Ideal for use in undergraduate courses such as introductory sociology, social problems, and social change as well as more advanced courses in population, or sociology of aging.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900415503821
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
12/12/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
152

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER ONE: THE RELAXATION OF RULES

Norms for Public versus Private Interaction

Living with Ambiguity

Noise Pollution

Free Style Dancing

Grade Inflation

Cheating

Summary

CHAPTER TWO: GENDER EQUALITY AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION

Labor Force Participation

Marriage and Childbirth

Sex on Campus

Educational Opportunities

Summary

CHAPTER THREE: A CULT OF YOUTH

"Don’t Trust Anybody over 30"

Aging of the First-Wave Boomers

The Boomers Continue to Bloom

The Demise of Ageism?

Popular Culture

Age Discrimination

Gerontologists Respond

Summary

CHAPTER FOUR: THE RELAXATION OF AGE CONSTRAINTS

Blurring the Boundaries of Age

The Timing of Major Life Events

"Get Me to the Church on Time"

Participating in the Arts

Educational Late-Blooming

Retirement

A New Stage of Life?

Summary

CHAPTER FIVE: WHAT HAS KEPT THE BOOMER CHANGES GOING?

The Boomers’ Continuing Influence

The Boomerang Effect

Co-opting the Counterculture

Growing Competition

Summary

CHAPTER SIX: THE EROSION OF CHILDHOOD

Generalizing the Relaxation of Norms

Middle School Sex

Eating Disorders

Bullying

Discipline

Teenagers in Adult Jails

Summary

CHAPTER SEVEN: FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE

EROSION OF CHILDHOOD

Earlier Puberty

Commercial Interests

The Mass Media

Lack of Adult Supervision

Summary

CHAPTER EIGHT: REVERSALS AND RESOLUTIONS

New Norms for Old

Norm Ambiguity and Controversy

Formalizing the Rules

Incipient Reversals?

Involving Parents

The Benefits of Blurred Boundaries

Feathering the Full Nest

Conclusion

ENDNOTE

REFERENCES

INDEX

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