Aging Individuals, Families, and Societies: Micro–Meso–Macro Linkages in the Life Course

Merril Silverstein, Roseann Giarrusso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

24 Scopus citations


As a conceptual lens with which to view and understand changes over the human life span, the life course perspective has achieved a dominant, some might say near hegemonic, status in social gerontology over the last several decades. It is difficult to overstate the importance of life course concepts to the sociology of aging and the science of human development. In simple terms, the life course framework considers the process of human growth and senescence within historical context, producing unique life experiences and trajectories for different birth cohorts (Elder 1994; Riley and Riley 1994). For its sweeping scope and focus on biographical and historical dynamics, the life course perspective is a powerful tool in the social scientific investigation of aging, but it is not without conceptual and empirical challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X


  • Adult Child
  • Birth Cohort
  • Gender Role Attitude
  • Marital Disruption
  • Social Institution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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