• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Age is a social construct". How far do you agree with this statement?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Age is a social construct". How far do you agree with this statement? The argument of age being a social construct discusses whether age is inclined to what we've learnt or its innate. This essay will discuss both aspects of age and come to a conclusion referring to the essay above. Age generally refers to how old a person is, biologically, the biological process which brings about inevitable changes in outlook and behaviour, physical changes in the body, from teenage changes in hormones to elderly changes. However sociologists also point out that age is shaped by cultural norms and social factors, in different cultures age is viewed differently. By 'social construction' sociologists refer to the way that labels or classification are not naturally occurring but they are categories that we create. Saying the age is socially constructed suggests that a persons chronological age is affected by societies norms attached to age groups which in turn means that each group is expected to behave a certain way and to have a certain role. Teenagers aren't expected to have a lot of responsibility and are expected to keep up with the latest trends, an adult would be expected to work and possibly look after a family. The biological or physiological perspective of age is that the body changes from with the time, as the physical change occurs the behaviour would change to follow the behaviour that our genes are programmed too, behaviour which would then get us to conform to society. ...read more.

Middle

Musgrove (functionalist) suggests that in the late 18th and 19th century parents saw their children as economical assets and valued them to help earn an income. The abilities and skills of children were becoming largely valued in the new industries. However after the introduction of the Education Act in 1870 the birth rate slumped, children were no longer as important to the economy and were moving outwards to more trivial occupations. This shows that children didn't always attend school, children having to go to school gave them a childhood. The adolescent period or teenage phase is also a generally new stage. Adolescence being linked to puberty refers to the transitional period from child to adult and to the changes one goes through at this time. This is influenced by the society surrounding the child and therefore is different from culture to culture. Different values and norms establish each cultures adolescent stage, in some cultures legislations also define this stage. In the united kingdom there are laws that identify certain life stages, for example the legal age of consent which, over the years, has increased in the 1860's the legal age of consent was twelve years old, in 1885 the legal age was increased from twelve to sixteen. This change was due to a belief of an increase in child prostitution. ...read more.

Conclusion

Being young, middle aged or old varies depending on ethnicity and gender. According to David Gillborn education, employment and job oppurtinites vary depending on ethnicity. People from different ethnic groups are likely to be discriminated against finding it difficult to get decent life chances and a decent life. Feminists argue that women earn less and get less promotions but live longer then men giving them larger pensions then their male partners, however lower wages means that their pension is less then the males because they have earned less over the years then men. Age is socially constructed, although there are some biological aspects to the legislations and social view points that define the age such as conception, puberty and degeneration. History has shown the changes in the viewpoints towards age and the different perceptions from child to adult to elderly, changes that have occurred due to legislations and advances in technology and medical science. Other cultures have shown that age is a social construct by their traditions and initiations at certain ages which vary from each culture. Class, Gender, Ethnicity have also proven to effect age , that stratification in society effects how one would perceive age. The idea that definitions of age change due to time and trends enforces that age must be a social construct. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. In what ways does education effect social changes between one generation and the next?

    For instance, if the norms of a society shift toward placing a greater emphasis on merit, the educational system may reflect the change by instituting a system of examinations to determine a student's place in the social organization of society.

  2. The essay will begin by looking at what normality and social construction is and ...

    The term normalisation has been applied particularly but not exclusively to people with learning difficulties. Wolfensberger's social theory of Normalisation provides a blueprint for human services which assists them in contributing towards the revaluation of deviant groups. While the revaluation of disadvantaged groups is likely to lead to improvements in

  1. Analyze how Far From Heaven employ mechanisms of cinematic identification.

    There are many reasons why spectators tend to identify with certain characters. Firstly the audience tends to praise a star's difference from their own. Secondly, the audiences' wish to overcome the difference between herself and the star so that she can become more like the star and thirdly, the audience

  2. The Cherry Orchard is pessimistic in its analysis of social transition.

    countryside except for the aristocracy and peasants, yet now there is an increase of holiday-makers, townspeople, professionals, and rich merchants - the new middle class - who make their summer homes in the country.

  1. Construction of Childhood

    "In the twentieth century public policy shifted from its Poor Law origins with a focus on removing children from failing parents, providing them with subsistence and equipping them to earn a living, to a concern for children's welfare, resulting in substantial growth in public authorities' statutory responsibilities." (Scottish Executive Publications.)

  2. "The novel is important to the history of women's search for a public voice" ...

    Both Defoe and Richardson were self-made men. Neither man had studied the classics as part of their education so the language they used when creating their works was colloquial unlike the decorative style previously used by the dominating upper class.

  1. Philosophies of Social Science.

    Confining ourselves to Western Europe, individualism in the Middle Ages was far more muted. In medieval society, society was viewed 'holistically' as an all-embracing organism. Within this 'social body' the individual played his or her allotted part. It was a world marked by the 'absorption of the individual by the community or by the society...

  2. “WhiteTeeth successfully satirizes the contrasts and relationships between different cultures” - How far do ...

    Zadie Smith mocks Archie's straightforward, yet humorous evaluation on the subject in which he states, "when you're dead, you're dead," as this is the kind of superficial answer we would expect from Archie. Whereas, Samad believes that, "we are creatures of consequence...our children will be born of our actions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work