Case Studies: The Life Course Perspective

Choose an older person  who you would be interested in writing a portrait of and prepare a 750 word essay demonstrating how birth cohort, gender, race, socioeconomic class, ethnicity, historic events, religion and/or sexual orientation have shaped their life course and had an impact on their lives as older adults. An interview or conversation would certainly be helpful if you choose someone you know but is not required. Do not identify your subject unless he or she a public figure. If you select a public figure, please supply at least two high quality biographical references ( credible sources, not intended for children, not random web or blog sites, well researched and  reasonably objective- not sources that make your subject into either a saint or a monster)

The focus of this assignment is on older adults, so choose someone who is at least 60 years old, or reached that age before she or he died and make sure that you have enough information about their late adulthood to write about it.

(Examples:  A report about a 45 year old  retired major league baseball  player would not work because he is too young. A report about the last years of  former baseball great Yogi Berra would be fine if you emphasized the last years of his long life rather than his playing career. A report about a relative who died at the age of 55 would not match the assignment because she did not live long enough to be an older adult, at least not for very long. A report about a friend or relative who is 70 or 90 years old would  be appropriate).

Be as specific as you can about the social factors and events that have shaped your subject’s life but be aware that many of us  are not  particularly aware of  those influences and not everyone experiences the same period of history the same way.  I would suggest that you do some research to learn about the events and trends that were particularly important in their lives so that you can put their lives in context. For example, if the person you wrote about. is a 90 year old woman who says that she served in the Cadet Nurse Core during World War Two  you would probably want to do a little research to find out what Cadet Core nurses did and perhaps a little bit about women’s involvement in the war effort. Include a paragraph or two of explanation in your report.Try to be as descriptive as you can rather than judgmental. For example, if religion or a strong work ethic has played an important role in their lives, explain why and how in concrete terms, rather than emphasizing your own endorsement or critique of their faith or values. 

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Case Studies: The Life Course Perspective was first posted on February 13, 2020 at 1:25 am.
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