Anthropology & Aging Books for Review

April 26, 2019
This is a list of books available for review in Anthropology & Aging. If you are interested in reviewing one of these titles or have a suggestion for a book that you would like to see reviewed, please send this information, including the book format you prefer (we encourage e-versions whenever available) to the Anthropology & Aging book reviews editor, Christine Verbruggen at anthro-age@mail.pitt.edu and register your full name, address, and a brief description of your areas of expertise or background that qualifies you for writing a review in the author submission portal of Anthropology & Aging. If your request is approved, you will receive additional instructions on composing the review. Reviews are typically 750-900 words long and submitted within three months of the receipt of the title. Reviews for films, performances, exhibits, or other media with relevance to the anthropology of aging are also welcome, but we ask that you contact the book reviews editor before proceeding with the review.

Aging in the Global South: Challenges and Opportunities (2005)

Alejandria-Gonzalez, Maria Carinnes P., Subharati Gosh and Nicolas Sacco. 2005. Aging in the Global South: Challenges and Opportunities. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.

214 pages

This book is a collection of work on aging and development from authors from the global south. Aging is steadily evolving as a public health and social crisis for which countries of the global south are ill-prepared. The forces of development and improved public health services have ensured that human being live longer. But there is enough evidence that such longevity do not commensurate with good health. As such, many countries of the global south are seeing a booming population who are aging in poor health, without the necessary safety net to ensure quality of life. This book discusses work from Asia, Africa, and South America to explore the challenges facing older adults. Topics include: aging in institutions, living arrangements of older adults, food insecurity, social isolation, end of life migration, and policy papers. This is the first book to bring together varied perspectives on the situation of older adults, and the challenges and opportunities that lie in developing innovative, sustainable programs to support elderly care services.

The politics and poetics of Alzheimer’s disease life -writing (2017)

Zimmerman, Martina. 2017. The politics and poetics of Alzheimer’s disease life -writing. London: Palgrave.

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.
This is the first book-length exploration of the thoughts and experiences expressed by dementia patients in published narratives over the last thirty years. It contrasts third-person caregiver and first-person patient accounts from different languages and a range of media, focusing on the poetical and political questions these narratives raise: what images do narrators appropriate; what narrative plot do they adapt; and how do they draw on established strategies of life-writing. It also analyses how these accounts engage with the culturally dominant Alzheimer’s narrative that centres on dependence and vulnerability, and addresses how they relate to discourses of gender and aging. Linking literary scholarship to the medico-scientific understanding of dementia as a neurodegenerative condition, this book argues that, first, patients’ articulations must be made central to dementia discourse; and second, committed alleviation of caregiver burden through social support systems and altered healthcare policies requires significantly altered views about aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s patients.

Successful aging as a contemporary obsession: global perspectives (2017)

Lamb, Sarah (eds.). 2017. Successful aging as a contemporary obsession: global perspectives. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

256 pages

In recent decades, the North American public has pursued an inspirational vision of successful aging—striving through medical technique and individual effort to eradicate the declines, vulnerabilities, and dependencies previously commonly associated with old age. On the face of it, this bold new vision of successful, healthy, and active aging is highly appealing. But it also rests on a deep cultural discomfort with aging and being old.

The contributors to Successful Aging as a Contemporary Obsession explore how the successful aging movement is playing out across five continents. Their chapters investigate a variety of people, including Catholic nuns in the United States; Hindu ashram dwellers; older American women seeking plastic surgery; aging African-American lesbians and gay men in the District of Columbia; Chicago home health care workers and their aging clients; Mexican men foregoing Viagra; dementia and Alzheimer sufferers in the United States and Brazil; and aging policies in Denmark, Poland, India, China, Japan, and Uganda. This book offers a fresh look at a major cultural and public health movement of our time, questioning what has become for many a taken-for-granted goal—aging in a way that almost denies aging itself.

Assemblages, transformations and the politics of care (2018, Italian)

Quaranta, Ivo, Massimiliano Minelli and Sylvie Fortin (eds.). 2018. Assemblages, transformations and the politics of care. Bologna: Bononia University Press. [MAAH – edited volume]

192 pages, Italian

This volume presents a selection of the contributions to the Medical Anthropology at Home (MAAH) conference, Assemblages, transformations, and the politics of care, that took place in Bertinoro, Italy, 2014. The authors investigate the moral, material and social assemblages, the mechanisms of transformations, the relationality and the shifting negotiations that define contexts and politics of care. Their shared aim is to problematize both curing and caring as embodied cultural processes, investigating how forms of biosociality, control and subjectification are configured in socially situated and culturally specific terms. Together, they show how care is both extremely fragile as an analytical concept as well as exceptionally productive in questioning the very processes involved in our being human.

Intimacy and ageing: New relationships in later life (2018)

Bildtgård, Törbjörn and Peter Öberg (eds.). 2018. Intimacy and ageing: New relationships in later life. Policy Press.

224 pages

To begin new relationships in later life is increasingly common in large parts of the Western world. This timely book addresses the gap in knowledge about late life repartnering and provides a comprehensive map of the changing landscape of late life intimacy.

Part of the Ageing in a Global Context series, the book examines the changing structural conditions of intimacy and ageing in late modernity. How do longer lives, changing norms and new technologies affect older people’s relationship careers, their attitudes to repartnering and in the formation of new relationships? Which forms do these new unions take? What does a new intimate relationship offer older men and women and what are the consequences for social integration? What is the role and meaning of sex?

By introducing a gains-perspective the book challenges stereotypes of old age as a period of loss and decline. It also challenges the image of older people as conservative, and instead presents them as an avant-garde that often experiment with new ways of being together.

Resilience and ageing: creativity, culture and community (2018)


Goulding, Anna, Bruce Davenport and Andrew Newman. 2018. Resilience and ageing: creativity, culture and community. Bristol: Policy Press.

224 pages

Understanding how creative interventions can help develop social connectivity and resilience for older people is vital in developing a holistic cross-sector approach towards ageing well.

Academics with a wide range of expertise critically reflect on how the built environment, community living, cultural participation, lifelong learning, and artist-led interventions encourage older people to thrive and overcome both challenging life events and the everyday changes associated with ageing.

The book uses a range of approaches, including participatory research methods, to bring the voices of older people themselves to the foreground. It looks at how taking part in creative interventions develops different types of social relationships and fosters resilience.

Interrogating the neoliberal life cycle: the limits of success (2019)

Clack, Beverley and Michele Paule (eds.). 2019. Interrogating the neoliberal life cycle: the limits of success. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

262 pages

In this timely collection, contributors from a number of disciplines discuss neoliberal visions of success, and the subsequent effects they have on the construction of the lifecycle. Frequently mentioned in popular political discourse, the notion of neoliberalism is often deployed as shorthand for the consensus that austerity is necessary and the hard-working individual can survive it. This volume unpicks and interrogates the term by engaging with the interface between the political ubiquity of neoliberal forms and its lived experience in neoliberal societies, cutting across a multiplicity of factors including gender, age, and access to education. Impressive in its wide scope and analysis, Interrogating the Neoliberal Lifecycle presents an informed discussion not only of the limits of the neoliberal paradigm but also of possible alternatives.

Creativity in later life: beyond style (2019)

Amigoni, David and Gordon McMullan (eds.). 2019. Creativity in later life: beyond style. New York: Routledge.

294 pages