Blurring the Boundaries: The Declining Significance of Age

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Jack LEVIN , Northeastern University, Boston, MA
This book examines changes in age-related norms, both in their substance and in their declining rigidity.  The analysis of changes in age norms is embedded in a wider thesis that informal social norms in general have diminished in their influence. Jack Levin argues that the social and cultural forces responsible for the blurring of boundaries between public and private conduct, and increasing equality by gender and race,  are implicated in the decline of chronological age as a determinant of major life decisions.  The  book address issues of the cult of youth, the relaxation of age constraints, the erosion of childhood, and the argument for a new life stage of 'emerging adulthood'.

Dr Levin argues that the declining significance of age has depended on the same changes in society as manifest in increases in cheating and in noise pollution, declining basic skills, and growing gender equality.  Changes in age norms are examined in the broadest sense, from childhood, to youth to adulthood to 'boomer changes'. The book thus takes a comprehensive life course approach to aging.