Ethnicity, culture and migration

Authored by: Sandra Torres

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415631143
eBook ISBN: 9780203097090
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221033


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This chapter presents the way in which gerontologists have understood the relevance of ethnicity and culture to the study of ageing and old age, and the implications that the globalization of international migration have for these understandings. The chapter argues that gerontology’s understandings of these backgrounds needs to be further developed since advancements made by social scientists who specialize in ethnicity have yet to permeate the gerontological imagination. It is worth noting that few efforts seem to have been made to systematically review the gerontological literature on ethnicity. Less than a handful of handbooks in gerontology or ageing published over the past decade have, for example, dedicated a chapter to ethnicity per se (one of the exceptions is Williams & Wilson 2001). The few attempts that have been made have had a limited scope, such as a focus on health and health care for older ethnic groups (e.g. Koehn et al. 2013). On the basis of a scoping review of the research on health and health care for older people with minority backgrounds, these gerontologists argue that ‘theoretical perspectives that incorporate race/ethnicity/culture are not well-developed in the ageing literature even today’ (Koehn et al. 2013: 439). This chapter hence aims to assess the current state of understanding of ethnicity and culture in gerontology, suggesting that the time has come to develop new models.

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