Living in a Temporal Perspective. Aging Between Metric and Narrative Time

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


Aging and time are interconnected because aging is basically living seen in a temporal perspective. This makes “time” an important concept in trying to explain aging. Throughout the history of thinking about time, we can trace a dichotomy between metric time and lived time. More attention for temporal resources of narrative may, first, help to uncover implicit narratives that obstruct further explanatory research into certain phenomena of aging. Second, narrative may help to integrate scientific explanations of aging as part of meaningful approaches to aging, bridging the gap between metric time and lived time.


  1. Aristotle (1995). Poetics. In The complete works of Aristotle: The revised Oxford Translation (Vol. 2, J. Barnes, Ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Avolio, B. J., Waldman, D. A., & McDaniel, M. A. (1990). Age and work performance in nonmanagerial jobs: The effects of experience and occupational type. Academy of Management Journal, 33, 407–422.Google Scholar
  3. Baars, J. (2010). Time and aging: Enduring and emerging issues. In D. Dannefer & C. Phillipson (Eds.), International handbook of social gerontology (pp. 367–376). New York/London: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Baars, J. (2012). Aging and the art of living. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Baars, J. (2016). Aging: Learning to live a finite life. The Gerontologist, 57(5), 969–976.Google Scholar
  6. Baars, J., & Lamme, S. (1993). Including social factors in the analysis of reminiscence in elderly individuals. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 37, 297–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baars, J., & Visser, H. (Eds.). (2007). Aging and time: Multidisciplinary perspectives. New York: Baywood.Google Scholar
  8. Baars, J., Dohmen, J., Grenier, A., & Phillipson, C. (Eds.). (2013). Ageing, meaning, and social structure: Connecting critical and humanistic gerontology. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bartky, I. R. (2007). One time fits all: The campaigns for global uniformity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Birren, J. (1959). Principles of research on aging. In J. Birren (Ed.), Handbook of aging and the individual: Psychological and biological aspects (pp. 2–42). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Birren, J. (1999). Theories of aging: A personal perspective. In V. L. Bengston & K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of theories of aging (pp. 459–472). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Blackburn, B., & Holford-Stevens, L. (Eds.). (1999). The Oxford companion to the year: An exploration of calendar customs and time-reckoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Blumenberg, H. (1986). Lebenszeit und Weltzeit. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  14. Burrow, J. A. (1986). The ages of man: A study in medieval writing and thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Butler, R. (1963). The life review: An interpretation of reminiscence in the aged. Psychiatry, 26, 65–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bytheway, B. (1995). Ageism. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Bytheway, B. (2011). Unmasking age: The significance of age for social research. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  18. Cumming, E., & Henry, W. (1961). Growing old: The process of disengagement. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Diehl, M., Wahl, H.-W., Barrett, A. E., Brothers, A. F., Miche, M., Montepare, J. M., Westerhof, G. J., & Wurm, S. (2014). Awareness of aging: Theoretical considerations on an emerging concept. Developmental Review, 34, 93–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eddington, A. (1928/2014). The nature of the physical world. Gifford lectures of 1927. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Freese, J., & Lutfey, K. (2011). Fundamental causality: Challenges of an animating concept for medical sociology. In B. A. Pescosolido, J. K. Martin, J. D. McLeod, & A. Rogers (Eds.), Handbook of the sociology of health, illness, and healing: A blueprint for the 21st century (pp. 67–82). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gadamer, H.-G. (2005). Truth and method. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  23. Gavrilov, L. A., & Gavrilova, N. S. (2006). Reliability theory of aging and longevity. In E. Masoro & S. Austad (Eds.), Handbook of the biology of aging (6th ed., pp. 3–42). San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press.Google Scholar
  24. Glenn, N. D. (2004). Distinguishing age, period, and cohort effects. In J. T. Mortimer & M. J. Shanahan (Eds.), Handbook of the life course (pp. 465–476). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. Greimas, A. J. (1970). Du sens: Essais sémiothiques. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  26. Guillemard, A.-M., & Argoud, D. (2004). France: A country with a deep early exit culture. In T. Maltby, B. de Vroom, M. L. Mirabile, & E. Overbye (Eds.), Ageing and the transition to retirement: A comparative analysis of European welfare states (pp. 165–185). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  27. Hardy, M. (2006). Older workers. In R. H. Binstock & L. K. George (Eds.), Handbook of aging and the social sciences (6th ed., pp. 201–218). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  28. Heidegger, M. (1996). Being and time. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  29. Heidegger, M. (2003). Supplements: From the earliest essays to being in time and beyond. (J. van Buren, Ed.). Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  30. Henkens, K. (2005). Stereotyping older workers and retirement: The managers’ point of view. Canadian Journal on Aging, 24, 353–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Henretta, J. C. (2001). Work and retirement. In R. H. Binstock & L. H. George (Eds.), Handbook of aging and the social sciences (5th ed., pp. 255–272). San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  32. Hoy, D. C. (2012). The time of our lives: A critical history of temporality. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kenyon, G. M., Clark, P. G., & de Vries, B. (Eds.). (2001). Narrative gerontology: Theory, research, and practice. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Kenyon, G. M., Bohlmeijer, E., & Randall, W. (2011). Storying later life: Issues, investigations, and interventions in narrative gerontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Kotter-Grühn, D., Kleinspehn-Ammerlahn, A., Gerstorf, D., & Smith, J. (2009). Self-perceptions of aging predict mortality and change with approaching death: 16-year longitudinal results from the Berlin Aging Study. Psychology and Aging, 24, 654–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levy, B. R., Slade, M., Kunkel, S. R., & Kasl, S. V. (2002). Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 261–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mackenbach, J. P. (2012). The persistence of health inequalities in modern welfare states: The explanation of a paradox. Social Science and Medicine, 75(4), 761–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McTaggart, J. M. E. (1908). The unreality of time. Mind, 17, 457–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Oeppen, J., & Vaupel, J. (2002). Broken limits to life expectancy. Science, 296, 1029–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Propp, V. (1968). Morphology of the folktale. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  41. Ricœur, P. (1988). Time and narrative. 3 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  42. Ricœur, P. (1991). Life in quest of narrative. In D. Wood (Ed.), On Paul Ricœur (pp. 188–200). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Robinson, R., & Jackson, R. (2001). Is trust in others declining in America? An age-period-cohort analysis. Social Science Research, 30, 117–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schaie, K. W. (2013). Developmental influences on adult intelligence: The Seattle Longitudinal Study (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Sears, E. (1986). The ages of man: Medieval interpretations of the life cycle. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Taylor, P., & Walker, A. (1998). Policies and practices towards older workers: A framework for comparative research. Human Resource Management Journal, 8, 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. The Gerontologist. (2015). Special issue: Successful aging, 55, 5–168.Google Scholar
  48. Vaupel, J. W. (2010). Biodemography of human aging. Nature, 464, 536–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wurm, S., Tesch-Römer, C., & Tomasik, M. J. (2007). Longitudinal findings on aging-related cognitions, control beliefs, and health in later life. The Journals of Gerontology, 62B(3), P156–P164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zerubavel, E. (1981). Hidden rhythms: Schedules and calendars in social life. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Humanistic StudiesUtrechtNetherlands

Personalised recommendations