Study Questions: Chapter 13
1. What factors have led to the aging of the Canadian population over the past century?
Answer: There are a number of causes of population aging in Canada. Life expectancy has increased significantly since the early twentieth century due to better medical practices (diagnosis, treatment, detection) and better nutrition and eating habits. People have also changed some of their lifestyle related habits such as decreasing smoking. Finally, there is a large number of healthy baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) who are experiencing this longer life expectancy, but fewer babies being born. Therefore, the fertility rate is lower than what it should be for replacement and the population ages. (pp. 333–336)
2. What are Arnett’s two types of socialization? What are their relationships to risk behaviour among adolescents?
Answer: Jeffrey Arnett studied risk behaviour among adolescents and determined there are both biological and sociological phenomena that cause adolescents to engage in risky behaviours such as using drugs, drinking to excess, speeding, and so on. With regard to the sociological component, he suggests that cultures are engaged in narrow socialization practices or broad socialization practices. Narrow practices encourage youth to be obedient and conform in all ways to community expectations. Non-conformity is generally punished so people are less apt to engage in risky behaviours. Broad socialization practices encourage independence and individualism over conformity, allowing people wide latitude of behaviour and freedom of expression. This however can lead to more risky behaviours as people “express themselves.” (pp. 344–345)
3. What is the cluttered nest and why might rates of it be increasing?
Answer: The cluttered nest is different from the empty nest. The empty nest is the where the children have grown, reached adulthood, and have left the parental home to pursue their own adult lives. The cluttered nest is a new term used to describe the growing phenomenon of adult “children” living in the parental home throughout their twenties, possibly longer. Some of the reasons for the growth of this group include the time and cost of post-secondary education, the time it takes to establish a career (with credentials and experience), the rising cost of living (making it increasingly difficult for a single person to establish a separate residence), coupled with increased age of first marriage, and newer lifestyle costs such Internet and cellphones. Rod Beaujot, a demographer, also talks about delayed life transitions, arguing that in the more prosperous decades, people could make life transitions at younger ages economic downturns, recessions, depressions, and economic collapse delay people’s ability to “make it” at the ages their parents did. (p. 346)
4. What is a rite of passage and what does Arnold van Gennep suggest are the phases that characterize a rite of passage?
Answer: A rite of passage is defined as rituals that demarcate an important transition from one phase of life to another. Van Gennep, a French ethnographer, suggested that there are three phases that characterize a rite of passage: separation, transition, and reincorporation. In separation, novices are taken from her or his usual place and role in the community. In transition (a liminal period), the novice experiences a “time out” where she or he experiences new things and learns about her- or himself. In reincorporation, the individual is reintegrated into her or his group/society in such a way that recognizes her or his new status and standing in the group. (pp. 347–350)
5. According to research, do most people in all cultures “fight” aging? Why might people in Canada view aging as “the enemy”?
Answer: Research suggests that North Americans may be the ones mainly concerned about fighting aging. Other cultures do not seem as obsessed with this as we are. We fight aging through cosmetic surgeries and chemical procedures liked Botox injections and anti-wrinkle products and hair dyes and transplants. Canada is a youth-worshipping culture, and as such, reveres all things youthful, including (and especially?) youthful appearance. Part of the reason we may be so fearful of aging is because of the way we view and treat elderly people, as a culture. (pp. 352, 354)