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The Sociological Theories Of Ageism

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Ageism is any attitudes, actions, or institutional structure which subordinates a person or group because of their age or any assignment of roles in society purely on the basis of age. It typically reflects a prejudice in society against older adults. The concept of aging varies across different cultures as different countries have varying demographic statistics such as Japan and Italy having significant part of their population above the age of 60 versus most countries in Africa who have significant parts of their population below the age of 30. Most research on ageism is done on children, adolescents, or young adults with few studies on actual older adults. Age is increasingly becoming a more positive concept, yet older people are still stereotyped. The three theories in sociology about aging are disengagement, activity, and continuity.
The first theory in sociology concerning aging is the disengagement theory from the functionalist perspective, developed by Elaine Cummings and Warren Earl Henry. Cummings and Henry theorized that as people age, older people should disengage from their roles in society and take on more roles that they are more accommodating to their degenerating physical and mental state. By older people leaving their roles in immediate society, they allow younger, more capable individuals to fill those spots, providing more productive and efficient results. A critical problem with this theory is that it assumes that older people are incapable of
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