The Autumn of My Years. Aging and the Temporal Structure of Human Life

  • Mark SchwedaEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Aging book series (Int. Perspect. Aging, volume 25)


This chapter examines the anthropological implications of aging and old age in the context of the temporal structuredness of human life. It explores how our conceptions of aging and old age receive their shape and significance by their embeddedness in an overarching temporal arc, a general “timeline” structuring individual pathways through life as well as generational roles, relations, and cycles. The chapter first gives a brief overview on the great historical and sociocultural variety of images and interpretations of human temporality. It then takes a closer look at three different levels of temporal structuredness of life: first, the fundamental coordinates and parameters of human existence in time, second, the sociocultural models of the life course, and third, the erratic individual trajectory through life. The discussion focuses on the implications of temporal structuredness on all three levels and draws conclusions for our understanding of human temporality in general and aging and old age in particular.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Services ResearchUniversity of OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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