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Activity: Chapter 9

After spending an afternoon interviewing my elderly neighbours I gained insight into how they perceive the aging process and its impact on the quality if their lives. First, and foremost they viewed aging in a very positive and healthy manner. The believed that a positive attitude assists in accepting physical and psychosocial changes. They enjoyed the fact that they were both physically fit and cognitively alert. They both felt confident that with the advances made in health care that the quality of their lives would continue to empowering. They enjoyed the benefits of being Senior Citizens, discounted travel, free education, and other incentives marketed towards the aged. The expressed a sense of well-being with respect to the numerous housing options geared towards the graying population, such as Retirement Villages, and assisted living. However, the subject of Long Term Care or Nursing Home placement was something that they both regarded with very negative emotions. There was also a sense of sadness and longing for more contact with their offspring and grandchildren. In countries like China where grandparents are an integral part of the family, the United States has seen a major shift away from the nuclear family.

It is my personal belief that America is a nation that suffers from ageism. It is the fear of growing old and the stereotypes that aging brings that causes ageism. Daily we are faced with advertisements that focus on youth, on looking, feeling, and acting young. However, as baby boomers move closer to the age of retirement this age grade, have and will make intelligent, empowering demands on how they are viewed.

Age sets are defined as groups uniting individuals born during a specific time. These group associations unite members through material possessions, distinctive dance, and rituals. As a collective, this age set move together through their life span. In the United States where the concept of individuality is important, we do not see the practice of age sets. There are rituals the various age grades participate in such as confirmation or entering Head Start. However, these practices cannot compare to the concept of age sets.


Tribal societies grew from foraging band with the introduction of food production. Different subsistence systems, horticulturists, and pastoralists characterize these societies. Horticulturists that depend on agriculture can be found in the rain forest and tropical areas. Pastoralists such as the Nuer, who are involved with animals, are found in areas of Africa and the Middle East. Due to environmental changes the Nuer, spend a portion of the year on the banks of the Nile and during the rainy season, they move to higher ground. Due to food production the tribal society is able to sustain a larger population base than that of the small nomadic foraging band. urdock did a cross cultural study of both groups in 1067 and found that, the population base of the horticulturists can range from 100 to 5000 people compared to the base of 2500 for the pastoralists. The tribal society can also expand when alliances are formed with other neighbouring tribes. As in most modern foraging bands, there is some reliance on trade and food production. Both groups also experience slow population growth probably due to the limited resources of both group. Both groups practice infanticide and forms of birth control. This patriarchal society settles within defined boundaries, unlike the foragers who are very mobile always searching for food in order to maintain survival. It is because of these defined boundaries that tribal societies find warfare more prevalent that that of foraging bands. When anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon (Chagnon, 1997), studied the Yanomamo he found that the movement of this South American tribe was due to warfare with other tribes. Chagnon was able to therefore conclude, that in order for a tribe to maintain a locale there must be alliances formed with other neighbouring bands.

Scupin Raymond. (1998)Cultural Anthropology A Global Perspective

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