The paradoxes of gerotranscendence: The theory of gerotranscendence in a cultural gerontological and post-modernist perspective

  • Kirsten Thorsen

Abstract

 

ABSTRACT

This article presents a theoretical analysis and discussion of the theory of gerotranscendence, formulated

by Lars Tornstam (University of Uppsala, Sweden). The theory is presented as a meta-theory of

ageing, as a theory of universal and general ageing processes. Ageing is seen as an urge (a drive)

towards a less engaged posititon in the wordly life, moving towards a higher degree of transcendence,

with a more cosmic outlook and another definition of reality. In this article the theory is discussed from

another theoretical position; Ageing seen in a cultural gerontological perspective, as a varied culturally

and historically situated phenomenon – differing in different times and different cultures. The theoretical

perspective underlines that ageing is complex dialectical processes, an intertwined interplay between

individual development and cultural change. The varied individual ageing processes are not seen

as the result of «drives». In Western post-modern cultures the ageing processes are becoming manifold,

often contradictory. Elderly present versions of the selves that are becoming complex, multiplied (multiple

selves), acting at different scenes, stamped by varied cultural values, presenting mixed versions of

activity and passivity, engagement and retractment, wordliness and transcendence.

Key words:

 

 

Ageing theories; gerotranscendence; cultural gerontology; postmodernism
Published
2009-10-30
How to Cite
Thorsen, K. (2009). The paradoxes of gerotranscendence: The theory of gerotranscendence in a cultural gerontological and post-modernist perspective. Norsk Epidemiologi, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.5324/nje.v8i2.464