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2017 | 1 (13) /2017 Active and Healthy Ageing | 13-24

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Narrative gerontology: introducing the field

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Narrative gerontology is a growing approach to understanding the experiences of later life. Narratives provide a type of raw material to gain an “insider’s perspective” on older age. The term “narrative” (coined in 1994) describes various types of stories that can range from a few sentences to a grand that covers a person’s lifetime. Depending on discipline (e.g, anthropology, medicine), narratives can be used in different ways (e.g., understanding perspectives within culture, understanding a patient’s perspective on an experience or condition). Key considerations regarding narrative gerontology include how best to elicit a story, the difference between big and small stories, analytical strategies, and issues of power, perspective and language. Overall, narrative gerontology isn’t limited to one single approach but instead encompasses many perspectives linked to putting experiences into words.


  • Department of Sociology and Gerontology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056 USA


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