By Jan Baars
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Additional info for Ageing, meaning and social structure : connecting critical and humanistic gerontology
When a family member is diagnosed with a severe disease – which is in itself a terrible event – it derives meaning when the family takes care of 26 Connecting meaning with social structure him/her and uses the unwanted opportunity to reaffirm their love for each other in acts of caring. This kind of meaning is not organised or guaranteed by ‘nature’,‘fate’ or the ‘cosmos’ but comes from interhuman presence and a care for each other that also requires systemic support and facilitation. This does not mean that becoming seriously ill or disabled is meaningful in itself: only our response can give these situations some meaning.
Baars, J. (2012) Ageing and the art of living, Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baars, J. and Dohmen, J. (forthcoming) Towards an art of aging:A rediscovery of forgotten texts, Baltimore, MD:The Johns Hopkins University Press. , Phillipson, C. and Walker, A. (eds) (2006) Ageing, globalization, and inequality:The new critical gerontology, Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing. Bauman, Z. (2000) Liquid modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press. F. (1991) Meanings of life, New York: Guilford Press.
It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that the daily struggle for a life of one’s own has become the collective experience of the Western world. It expresses the remnant of our communal feeling. (Beck and BeckGernsheim, 2002, p 22) Although emancipation battles still exist in certain contexts, a clear shift can be identified from a struggle for emancipation to a life politics, the latter involving questions relating to the meaning of one’s own identity. New life questions concern orientation and identity: who am 33 Ageing, meaning and social structure I?
Ageing, meaning and social structure : connecting critical and humanistic gerontology by Jan Baars