Older Americans Living Alone: The Influence of Resources and Intergenerational Integration on Inequality

April 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am VERY pleased to announce that the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography just published my most comprehensive article on living alone and aging.

Its title is  “Older Americans Living Alone: The Influence of Resources and Intergenerational Integration on Inequality.” The abstract is below and the link to the full article is http://jce.sagepub.com/content/early/recent

This is important work as we need to raise awareness on the challenges of living alone in old age. We cannot create policies if we do not know what is the overall experience of living alone in old age, right? This is the value of in-depth qualitative methods. Ethnography rocks.

I also want to use this post to thank all the San Franciscans who helped me in this endeavor. GRAZIE GRAZIE GRAZIE!

I also deeply grateful to Corey Abramson and Chris Phillipson for their substantial comments on earlier drafts. I am also very grateful to Reiner Keller, Maryann Molinari, Frank Neuhaser, Robert Okin, Christine Trost and the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. I also want to thank Carroll Estes, Sharon Kaufman, Eric Klinenberg, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes for their input throughout the research project.

And this is the abstract:

The number of older adults living alone in Western societies has steadily increased. Despite this trend, little is known about the overall experience of this population. In this article, I examine the condition of living alone in old age in urban America by drawing upon two years of participant observation and ethnographic interviews with older Americans living alone, as well as with participant observation. Findings contribute to the literature on inequality, with particular attention to the theory of cumulative disadvantage over the life course. First I reveal the reasons that make living alone in old age a unique condition. Then I discuss four profiles of older adults living alone based on observed empirical patterns: the resourceful, the precarious, the segregated, and the gated elite. A comparison of these profiles suggests that intra-cohort inequalities stem from the combination of resources available and degree of intergenerational integration.

Link to the full article is http://jce.sagepub.com/content/early/recent

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