Becoming Old. The Gendered Body and the Experience of Aging

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


It seems rather obvious that the experience of aging is not indifferent to gender, and that studies of gender ought to account for aging and old age. Yet, the two subject matters have been rarely investigated together. The anthropological-phenomenological approach introduced in this chapter responds to the plea to include the absent body into the debate of gendered aging. It is my contention that this absence can only be filled if we do not merely focus on the material or physical side of the body. Embodied (gendered) aging is neither simply a discursive or cultural phenomenon of meaning, nor is it just a material, physical or biological fact. Instead, I want to apply an entanglement of phenomenological and anthropological concepts to the debate in order to investigate the aging body as experienced or lived from within, and show how this very experience is shaped and framed from without by environmental, historico-cultural, and social circumstances. It is together – from within and without – that the aging subject’s specific situation of living is shaped.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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