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  • Author or Editor: Dale Dannefer x
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This chapter presents a commentary on the foregoing chapters, beginning by underscoring the usefulness of the distinction made by Baars and Phillipson between contingent aging and existential ageing. This important distinction resurfaces in a number of complex ways throughout the chapters of this volume, and it is employed as the first organizing theme for the commentary. The second organizing theme concerns the tension between theory and practice which also arises in fresh ways in several of the chapters. These two sets of tensions are used as the primary frameworks within which to organize concluding comments on the informative and provocative chapters of the volume.

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Chapter 4 argues for a greater awareness and understanding of how macro-level developments, such as gentrification and transnational migration, influence the creation of AFCCs. It identifies two key challenges which limit the success and effectiveness of both age-friendly initiatives and the scholarly field of environmental gerontology: first, microfication, or the tendency to focus on immediate aspects of everyday life while overlooking broader, overarching aspects of the social context that define and set key parameters of daily experience; and second, erasure, referring to the issue that certain groups of people remain ‘unseen’ in policy, research, or institutional practices. Remedying the limiting effects of these tendencies will be essential to increase the value and effectiveness of both of these enterprises, the authors conclude.

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This commentary reinforces a central commitment of life course research: to make visible how social change matters in human lives. This paper captures a moderated conversation with four senior scholars about how they came to study the intersection between social change and life experience, why this intersection is so important to life course studies, and theoretical and methodological imperatives and challenges that come with it.

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