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Gerontology Theories, Essay Example

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1.In the discipline of sociology, gerontology is defined as the study of different aspects of aging, namely, cultural, cognitive, biological, social, and psychological. Sociologists and other professionals in this field across the globe have made deliberate efforts to make improvements in how aged people interact with the outside world. It is made possible because of the help of the members of the family and healthcare providers. Various studies have indicated that there are a lot of negative issues that are associated with old age. In some cases, an individual would have a particular belief or a perception about a specific theory when young, and this could change as they age. The studies have shown that older adults’ life experience is composed of a way of perceiving life in terms of gratification, contentment, and pleasure.

However, this plays out differently for Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall is popularly known as the first judge from the African-American community. Just like Gubrium and Holstein’ approaches, Justice Marshall has spent his whole life accumulating knowledge and experience which have come in handy in his old age (Kolb, 2014). He has used his early mistakes to make amendments later in his life. Since his childhood, his father prepared him for challenges he would get in law career. His father knew that law was the best career Marshall would be passionate about and consequently perform excellently. Later in his middle adulthood, Justice Marshall became more zealous and made mistakes which he used to learn from. For instance, he thought that being radical would be the best tactic to fight segregation inn his country. He was wrong. He learned from and corrected his mistakes later in his old age. These lessons were the basis of his excellent performance as a judge in the Supreme Court later in his life.

He was a Supreme Court judge for almost 30 years.  Thurgood Marshall strived hard in the promotion of racial equality. The above happened during the civil rights movements. From the record, Thurgood Marshall participated in 32 cases as a judge from which he won in 25 cases. It is interesting to note that Thurgood Marshall worked during his old age until he was 81. In his early 80s, he was still active as Supreme Court justice, which pretty strange for many older adults. In his late 70, Thurgood Marshall ruled against in favor of a number liberal proposal such as abortion. He also stood firmly against any form of a death sentence. Even at that age, his mind was rational and stable. This was demonstrated by the fact that he firmly stated his opinion about how any form of the death penalty should be abolished since it is unconstitutional.

2.Robert Atchley developed the continuity theory that helps explain in detail how and why retirement is essential for both productions of an individual and their health. This theory assumes that there exist mental frameworks internally, which makes an individual sustain a particular behavior or lifestyle pattern (Kolb, 2014). However, he poses a challenge to the retirement policy. He claims that it promotes discrimination, ageism. He says that it is an act of prejudice considering that sick people are allowed back to work after recovery. This is not the case when it comes to age. He says that many people are affected differently during their retirement. For those who have voluntarily retired, the impact is less than the rest.

A case study of Thurgood Marshall well supports critical gerontology. Justice made most of his achievements during his old age. Contrary to the intuitive assumption, Thurgood Marshall was able to seat during more than 30 cases. From these cases, he won in 24 of them. During most of these cases, Thurgood Marshall was past the age of retirement. This supports the challenge posed by Atchley, where he claims that it is not automatic that old age will make an individual less productive. Marshall was prolific for the better part of his life. He only stopped practicing his professionalism when he hit 81. However, it was not even because of his age; rather, the reason why he could not work anymore is that he suffered from heart attacks. This is evidence enough that some individuals are productive even past the age of retirement.

3.Since time immemorial the society has constructed and determines the place of a woman in the community. As described by Estes, the duties of a woman are socially predetermined throughout their lives. Their relationships with men, their family configurations, and the labor market have always been societally constrained. They are treated as a group rather than individuals with different characters. Estes states individual problems and experiences are collectively dealt with rather than considering them as a result of own behaviors (Kolb, 2014). All these are evidence that women have, for a long time, denied their rights to live like individuals rather than a collective gender. In this respect, the case study of Thurgood Marshall will come in handy. He came of age as a lawyer.

Being an African-American, he spent his career fighting for and defending equal rights. He mostly utilized his professional as an instrument to push forward all the matters that fought for equal rights. Women were among the many categories of minorities that were discriminated and whose rights had been stolen by the society. However, he claimed that sometime, it became difficult for him when equal rights for women and races clashed. At one point during his time, he was called upon to help Kenyans draft constitution when they gained independence from the British. He wrote a preamble to the Kenyan bills of rights that “All persons are equal regardless of their race, sex, language religion, political, birth or another status.” This emphasizes how much he was ready to fight for equal rights for all individuals.

4. Stoller and Gibson explain the “Theories of Aging and Social Work Practice with Sensitivity to Diversity.” They tell that there are four main aspects to this concept. Firstly, they state that personal attributes is a vital key in determining how an individual will behave when they become aged later in their career. Secondly, social-history is a massive factor in deciding in what character a person is growing. The third aspect is the membership or a cohort an individual belongs to. The shape and experience of an individual will rely heavily on what group they are subscribed to. Finally, the cohort of an individual is shaped by the social-historical factor. The four elements are well demonstrated in the career path of Thurgood Marshall (Kolb, 2014).

Justice Marshall was born in a mixed family of African-Americans. It therefore contributes significantly to shaping his political affiliation and his zeal to fight for equal rights of his community. This personality makes him a very hardworking person, and it is evident by how he was able to work almost his entire life. Even after when he hit the retirement age, he was equally productive. He continued being a successful judge until two years before his death bed. His cohort and membership, or in other words, his career in, had a massive chunk of contribution. The researchers state that he used the law platforms as an instrument to fight for human rights passionately. He found purpose in his life, and therefore, he performed his work diligently. Thurgood Marshall was born during an era when many activists group were actively fighting for equality of the minority groups. He, therefore, joined the free civil rights movements to answer his call.

5.Gerotranscendence is a theory proposed by Tornstam in the year 2005. Essentially, the concept is about the development of an adult individual into old age (Kolb, 2014). According to this theory, the attributes, values, and characters of a younger adult will be different when the same individual becomes aged.  It states that there is a constant development between when the person is in their young adult stage to their old age. The intention and the objective of the theory are to address the irregular aging behaviors that have not been observed and analyzed by other theory of aging.  Tornstam argues that gerotranscendence is a final result of the prerequisite process. He refers to these processes as dimensions of gerotranscendence (Kolb, 2014). He lists the sizes starting with the cosmic dimension, which indicates that the developmental stage begins at childhood, to middle age, and eventually to old age. Then there is the dimension of self, the dimension of social relationship to old age.

Thurgood Marshall, as an individual, goes through all the processes mentioned above and dimensions. In his biography, it is indicated that he did not have the idea of becoming a lawyer when he was young. Rather, it was his father that kept pushing him to memories constitutional clauses and developed a passion for law in general. It means that his mind started developing and growing since childhood. This is what Tornstam described as a cosmic dimension. Marshall’s Development continued till the day he died. From this, enters into the next size called self dimension. This happened in his middle adulthood. At this dimension, he was youthful and full of energy, and therefore, like many youths at this stage, he became more radical. He was angry about the discrimination of his black community. He wanted to stop the segregation and mistreatment of the youth of his community who were alleged of crime because their skin color was black. He, therefore, became more aggressive in his studies and did well in various academic fields. He had made it upon him to change the situation of his community. He won numerous rewards for being academically excellent both in theory and in practice. This was after he had been denied a position in the school of law since it was unprecedented for a black person to study law. His aggressiveness and radical behavior made him stand out, and he was eventually allowed in class. Additionally, he fought for other black students to be given equal chances when it comes to education and other sectors.

For his case, the self-dimension extended for more than an average individual, as explained in this theory.  It was only in his late 70s that he started changing and losing his radical behavior. To some degree, he became less extreme and a bit moderate. He stated to be objective while trying to understand the issue of segregation and racism in the country. However, this was just mild. A few years before he was dismissed from his career due to heart problems, he still held his youthful character. At 80, he stated how much he disagreed with any type of death penalty. He said that such action is unconstitutional and should not be tolerated in a civilized society. He also ruled in favor of abortion. It was one of the most liberal rulings in his career.

References

Kolb, P. (2014). Understanding aging and diversity: Theories and concepts. Routledge.

https://www.biography.com/video/thurgood-marshall-full-episode-2192395509

Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and NAACP

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