Understanding the Life Course

Understanding the Life Course

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Understanding the Life Course provides a uniquely comprehensive guide to understanding the entire life course from an interdisciplinary perspective. Combining the important insights sociology and psychology have to bring to the study of the life course, the book presents the concept's theoretical underpinnings in an accessible style, supported by real-life examples. What do reality TV shows such as Supernanny really tell us about child development? Are teenage rebellions and midlife crises written into our DNA? Does being a grandparent - or even a great-grandparent - equate to being old? This book encourages readers to think about these questions by highlighting the many different ways the life course can be interpreted, including themes of linearity and multi-directionality, continuity and discontinuity, and the interplay between nature and nurture, or genetics and culture. From birth and becoming a parent, to death and grieving for the loss of others, key research studies and theories are introduced, and their contemporary relevance and validity discussed. All stages of the life course are considered in conjunction with issues of social inequality (such as social class, race/ethnicity and gender) and critical examination of lay viewpoints. The book's comprehensive coverage of the life course counters the limitations of working with a certain group or age category in isolation, and its interdisciplinary focus recognizes the centrality of working in and across multi-professional teams and organizations. It will be essential reading for students on vocational programmes in social work, the allied health professions, nursing and education, and will provide thought-provoking insight into the wider contexts of the life course for students of psychology and sociology.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 170 x 250 x 28mm | 662.24g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 074564015X
  • 9780745640150

About Lorraine Green

Lorraine Green is lecturer in social work at the University of Manchester.show more

Review quote

'This is a most welcome book, written in a clear accessible style. It opens up some complex and challenging issues in ways that engage the reader and illuminate contemporary people-work.' Community Care 'Learning and teaching about the human life course to student social workers in one module over one term has always seemed to me to be a tall order...However, having reviewed Lorraine Green's book, I can now confidently recommend this as an excellent place to start...Green's book is a rarity and a great achievement, providing the reader with a cogent account of the life course...Now, it is not only Green's students who can avail themselves of this knowledge; we all can.' British Journal of Social Work 'Lorraine Green has produced an impressive and stimulating text. She rigorously shakes some of the lazy orthodoxies which can settle into our understandings of the human life course, yet the work remains accessible and relevant to both professionals and researchers who seek to understand this important domain.' Sue White, Professor of Social Work, Lancaster University 'Ambitious, up-to-date and very readable. Drawing primarily upon sociological and psychological theory and research, Understanding the Life Course will be invaluable to students studying on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, particularly those on vocational and professional degrees in the broad health and welfare areas.' Nigel Parton, NSPCC Professor in Applied Childhood Studies, University of Huddersfield 'Multi-disciplinary and theoretically informed, this book makes excellent use of examples and careful explanation to inform our understanding of the life course. Thought-provoking yet lively, clearly written and accessible, it makes a substantial contribution to the texts in this area.' Serena Bufton, Principal Lecturer in Sociology, Sheffield Hallam Universityshow more

Back cover copy

"Understanding the Life Course" provides a uniquely comprehensive guide to understanding the entire life course from an interdisciplinary perspective. Combining the important insights sociology and psychology have to bring to the study of the life course, the book presents the concept's theoretical underpinnings in an accessible style, supported by real-life examples. What do reality TV shows such as Supernanny really tell us about child development? Are teenage rebellions and midlife crises written into our DNA? Does being a grandparent - or even a great-grandparent - equate to being old? This book encourages readers to think about these questions by highlighting the many different ways the life course can be interpreted, including themes of linearity and multi-directionality, continuity and discontinuity, and the interplay between nature and nurture, or genetics and culture. From birth and becoming a parent, to death and grieving for the loss of others, key research studies and theories are introduced, and their contemporary relevance and validity discussed. All stages of the life course are considered in conjunction with issues of social inequality (such as social class, race/ethnicity and gender) and critical examination of lay viewpoints. The book's comprehensive coverage of the life course counters the limitations of working with a certain group or age category in isolation, and its interdisciplinary focus recognizes the centrality of working in and across multi-professional teams and organizations. It will be essential reading for students on vocational programmes in social work, the allied health professions, nursing and education, and will provide thought-provoking insight into the wider contexts of the life course for students of psychology and sociology.show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments page vii Introduction 1 What this book is about 1 Why combine sociology and psychology? 3 Who this book is for and why it will be useful 3 Summary of the chapters: brief contents 5 1 Understanding the Life Course 10 Introduction 10 Changes affecting the contemporary life course in the UK 10 Unreality TV, people s perceptions of human nature and lay theorizing 14 Sociology and psychology 19 Life course sociology and life span psychology 23 Social science research methods 30 Life span psychology, life course sociology and multidisciplinarity 33 2 Traditional Psychological Approaches to Children 40 Introduction 40 Physical development and memory 41 Psychoanalytic development 44 The psychosocial approach 47 Attachment 48 Modern psychoanalytic theories and attachment 50 Cognitive development 52 Modern cognitive developmental theory 54 Learning theories 56 Language acquisition 59 Conclusion 61 3 The New Social Studies of Childhood 63 Introduction 63 Criticisms of developmental psychology 67 The new sociology of childhood theorists and other social perspectives 73 Conclusion 86 4 Adolescence and Youth 89 Introduction 89 Adolescence and psychology 89 Youth and sociology 104 Conclusion 117 5 Young Adulthood 119 Introduction 119 Psychology and young adulthood 119 Sociology and young adulthood 128 Conclusion 147 6 Middle Adulthood 149 Introduction 149 Psychology and middle adulthood 150 Sociology and middle adulthood 160 Conclusion 172 7 Old Age 174 Introduction 174 Old age and psychology 178 Old age and sociology 187 Conclusion 197 8 Death, Dying, Grief and Loss 200 Introduction 200 Bereavement and psychology 201 The sociology of death and dying 206 Conclusion 218 Conclusion 221 Bibliography 227 Index 264show more

Rating details

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