The Challenge of Critical Gerontology: The Problem of Social Constitution

This article focuses on the problem of social constitution which is seen as the principal theoretical challenge that is implicit in the different approaches to “critical gerontology”. The acknowledgement of a social constitution of both gerontology and aging contrasts with the conventional understanding of gerontology, which is dominated by an idealized concept of natural science as the representative of “objective” knowledge. In an analysis of recent developments in the philosophy, sociology and history of science it is shown that the problem of social constitution can no longer be avoided in theoretical reflection on gerontology. The theoretical and practical relevance of this problem is illustrated at different levels of analysis. These levels correspond partly with the different traditions that inspire the approaches to “critical gerontology”

(from Journal Of Aging Studies, 1991)

Download article