People Innovation Excellence

Aging & Society

Ami Fitri Utami, SE., MSM

The case of age stratification applied different from culture to culture. One society may treat older people with a good reverence, on the other hands there are some society which treat older as a burden in their social life. It is common that once people called “old”, there are some differences occur not only on how other people see them but also on how they view themselves.
Based on Schaefer in 2011, there are some sociological perspectives about aging in social life includes the functionalist view, the interactionalist view and the conflict view. Those perspectives will influence their social roles and how most people see the elderly.
The functionalist view is concerning the reducing function of elder people once they are old. By using disengagement theory, the functionalist claimed that the old are no longer possessed capacities and capabilities to engage with current society. Hence, when an old person live in a society with a functionalist view it is inevitable for them to become socially isolated and reduced social roles.
On the other hands, the interactionalist view tries to sees the elder in a more positive way. In this case, the elder people are not having their role reduced but they are involved in a new network. The functionalist view the aging process from the activity theory’s sides. They don’t see old people as a burden, but they see the old people as a knowledge and experiences resource which has changed their roles from a “do-er” into “advisor”.
While the interactionalist sees the older people as source of experiences, in the conflict view there are no changes on the old people social roles. Otherwise, in this view the younger people see the older people as competition which sometimes leads them into conflict.
Organization, have a different strategy to treat their “old-man” both positively and even negatively. Age can provide a basis for social differentiation. However, when we talk about the stratification of age it was not only influenced by the biological factor but also how the social environment shapes the “social ideas” of it.

Refference : Schaefer, Richard T. 2006. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. Sixth Edition. International Edition. McGraw-Hill. Chapter 11 (Stratification by gender and age)

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