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Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives
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Ageing Without Children
European and Asian Perspectives on Elderly Access to Support Networks
Edited by Philip Kreager and Elisabeth Schröder-Butterfill
290 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-614-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2005)
ISBN 978-1-84545-041-0 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (March 2005)
eISBN 978-1-78920-579-4 eBook
“by emphasizing the historical and synchronous universality of the childless elderly in the East and the West and by highlighting the social context of their formation and relations, Ageing without Children: European and Asian Perspectives fills a glaring lacuna in demographic studies.” · H-Net Reviews
“As a collection of rich case studies…the volume will provide a welcome read and source of enlightening data.” · JRAI
Rapid fertility declines and improved longevity are now shifting the overall balance of population towards older ages in many parts of the world. Within this growing population of older people there are many groups with particular needs about which relatively little is known. This collection focuses on one such sub-population, the elderly without children. Few would deny that childlessness poses potential human and welfare problems for older people without them. What is less well known is that comparative anthropological and historical demographic research indicates that childlessness is a recurring social phenomenon that has affected 1 in 5 older women in many cultures and historical periods. High levels of childlessness arise not solely or primarily from biological factors like primary sterility, but from a combination of actors. Many, like non-marriage, delayed childbearing , and pathological sterility, reflect the interaction of social and biological influences.
Also of major importance are factors that remove the support of children from elders' lives: migration, mortality, divorce, remarriage, family enmity, social mobility, and the pressing demands of family and career on younger generations. The papers collected in this volume employ a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods to define and characterize the experience of ageing without children.
Philip Kreager is Lecturer in Human Sciences, Somerville College, and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Ageing.
Elisabeth Schröder-Butterfill is Lecturer in Gerontology at the University of Southampton.
Subject: Medical Anthropology Sociology
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