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Vadim Rozin1
  • 1 Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, 12/1 Goncharnaya Str., Moscow, 109240, Russian Federation

Old Age as a Psychological and Cultural Phenomenon

2017. Vol. 14. No. 2. P. 320–337 [issue contents]

The article views the old age in the author’s framework of “cultures of human life”. The author suggests distinguishing “culture of childhood”, “culture of adolescence and youth”, and several “cultures of an adult”. Each culture of human life is characterized by the specifics of functioning and worldview (consciousness), as well as by the specifics of socialization. A brief description of each culture of life is presented. Then the problems of old age are analyzed (parting with the habitual way of life, illnesses, loss of meaning of life, etc.), as well as traditional ways for old people to combat these problems. The author hypothesizes that the essence of the culture of old age is building the concept of old age and then its realization. In its turn, realization suggests, on the one side, changing of reality and finding meaning of life, and on the other side, renewal of life in new circumstances. By the example of understanding human’s health and place that it should take in the old age, the conditions of realization of this hypothesis are discussed. Health of a human, as the author believes, is better to understand not as an absence of illnesses or an illusory well-being, but, in the first place, as human’s work and quality, specifics of life that develops under the influence of such work. Its main components are following: (1) building of a personal conception of health (and in the last stage of life – a conception of old age); (2) inclusion of social demands in it (simultaneously one needs to develop critical attitude toward services that the state or medical business offer, and make corrections on the basis of one’s personal conception of health); (3) minimization of illnesses with the usage of both personal capacities (healthy lifestyle, work with personal values, etc.), and all other means that society provides; (4) formation of a position to renew life and health, which suggests change of behavior and attitudes to one’s health with the age; (5) ability to work and deal with own problems and stressors; (6) submission of all the described work to the general scenario of the proper life. The article finishes with the discussion of 3 conditions to reproduce old age as culture. Firstly, this culture is supported by society, giving it special conditions and institutions. Secondly, the biological nature itself works to reproduce old age – people age, become sick, advance to their end. Thirdly, the combined work of human and culture – human creates individual conceptions of the old age and realizes them, and culture develops various semiotics of the old age, which people use.

Citation: Rozin V. (2017) Starost' kak psikhologicheskiy i kul'turnyy fenomen [Old Age as a Psychological and Cultural Phenomenon]. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, vol. 14, no 2, pp. 320-337 (in Russian)
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