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Theorizing in social gerontology: the raison d'être

Jon Hendricks (University Honors College, Oregon State University, Oregon, USA)
Jason L. Powell (School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 27 February 2009




The purpose of this paper is to contextualise the need for a social theory of ageing. For a long time, social gerontology has been accused of being “data rich but theory poor”. The paper reviews this and maps out the importance of research themes of social theory and sets the scene for the articles that have used social theory in an innovative way to shed light on international experiences of ageing.


The paper is an introduction to the collection. It mainly is a literature review of key theoretical ideas and trends on social theory and ageing.


The paper points to how different dimensions of social theory are internationalised across USA, Israel, UK and Europe. The use of theory in an informed manner gives intellectual respectability to empirical research in social gerontology.


The paper is original in that it points to the gaps in social gerontology in terms of theoretical development. It sets the scene for the very original papers on social theory that is assessed by different levels: macro, messo and micro forms of theoretical analysis of ageing.



Hendricks, J. and Powell, J.L. (2009), "Theorizing in social gerontology: the raison d'être", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 29 No. 1/2, pp. 5-14.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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