de Burger, James E.
November 1982
Humanity & Society;Nov82, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p46
Academic Journal
In recent years, as sociology has contributed increasingly to the study of the aging process and problems of aging, it has moved toward a larger role in the emergent field of social gerontology. A central purpose of this essay is to assess sociology's potentially humanistic role in this newly emergent and rapidly developing field. Unlike some previous discussions of the role of social science fields in the development of gerontology it is assumed here that sociology is a socially-grounded enterprise which may significantly affect the everyday life of "subjects" of its research. Contemporary sociologists may desire neither to acknowledge nor to act on the need for a humanistic, socially-grounded and whole-person-oriented approach within social gerontology, preferring to emphasize this new field as a sub-science of aging. Such a response seems unfortunate and short-sighted, since social gerontology as a field of study and research offers such a great opportunity for contribution. In addition, the present interdisciplinary nature of gerontology holds the opportunity for sociologists to contribute significantly to developing a full image of bio-psycho-social personhood with all its nuances across the life-course.


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