For Review

Books and Multimodal Works for Review

This is a list of books available for review in Anthropology & Aging. If you are interested in reviewing one of these titles or have a suggestion for a book that you would like to see reviewed that is not included in this list, please send this information, including the book format you prefer (we encourage e-versions whenever available) to the Anthropology & Aging Book Reviews and Media editor, Christine Verbruggen (christine.verbruggen(at)kuleuven.be).

Please make sure to include your full name, address, and a brief description of your areas of expertise or background that qualifies you for writing a review in this email. If your request is approved, you will receive additional instructions on composing the review. Reviews are typically 1000-1200 words long and submitted within three months of the receipt of the title. Reviews of films, performances, exhibits, or other media with relevance to the anthropology of aging are also welcome!

 

BOOKS FOR REVIEW

Amrith, Megha, Victoria K. Sakti, and Dora Sampaio, eds. Aspiring in Later Life Movements across Time, Space, and Generations. 2023. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press. pp. 204. Price: $ 150 (Hardcover); $ 37,95 (Paperback); Open Access (eBook; PDF)

https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/bucknell/aspiring-in-later-life/9781978830400     

 

In our highly interconnected and globalized world, people often pursue their aspirations in multiple places. Yet in public and scholarly debates, aspirations are often seen as the realm of younger, mobile generations, since they are assumed to hold the greatest potential for shaping the future. This volume flips this perspective on its head by exploring how aspirations are constructed from the vantage point of later life, and shows how they are pursued across time, space, and generations. The aspirations of older people are diverse, and relate not only to aging itself but also to planning the next generation’s future, preparing an "ideal" retirement, searching for intimacy and self-realization, and confronting death and afterlives. Aspiring in Later Life brings together rich ethnographic cases from different regions of the world, offering original insights into how aspirations shift over the course of life and how they are pursued in contexts of translocal mobility.

 

Ceci, Christine, and Mary Ellen Purkis. Care at Home for People Living with Dementia Delaying Institutionalization, Sustaining Families. 2023. Bristol: Policy Press. pp. 208. Price: $92 (Hardcover); $31 (Paperback; eBook). https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/care-at-home-for-people-living-with-dementia

What ‘kind’ of community is demanded by a problem like dementia? As aspects of care continue to transition from institutional to community and home settings, this book considers the implications for people living with dementia and their carers. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and case studies from Canada, this book analyses the intersections of formal dementia strategies and the experiences of families and others on the frontlines of care. Considering the strains placed on care systems by the COVID-19 pandemic, this book looks afresh at what makes home-based care possible or impossible and how these considerations can help establish a deeper understanding necessary for good policy and practice.

 

Davis, Boyd, and Margaret Maclagan, eds. Dementia Caregiving East and West: Issues of Communication. 2023. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 180. Price: $ 80 (Hardcover); $ 40,5 (Paperback). https://www.cambridgescholars.com/product/978-1-5275-8463-1.

This book pulls together current practical and adaptable communicative approaches to dementia care from western and eastern researchers, promoting cross-collaboration and global sharing of information.

Discussions of communicative interactions involving caregivers, whether local or migrant, professional or family, are an important part of global aging and aging education. Different countries around the world have different systems and policies governing aging, healthcare, and caregiving as do the different cultures within them. What isn’t different, however, is that dementia occurs in each country and each culture, although it may be acknowledged differently and may or may not be stigmatized or hidden. Ways of looking at dementia caregiving and carework have expanded across multiple cultures and countries, but are not always collected and made conveniently available.

In dementia caregiving, communication with the caregiver is widely seen as the most helpful non-pharmacological means of assistance, especially in the family-care context. This collection will be attractive across multiple fields as it presents practical and adaptable discussions of communicative interactions in dementia caregiving contributed by senior and junior researchers in anthropology, art therapy, counseling, gerontology, linguistics and nursing.

 

Davis, Boyd, Alessandra Vicentini, and Kim Grego, eds. Seniors Foreign Caregivers, Families Institutions. Linguistic and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. 2022. Milan: Mimesis International. pp. 282. Price: $ 28,99 (Paperback). https://mimesisinternational.com/seniors-foreign-caregivers-families-institutions-linguistic-and-multidisciplinary-perspectives/

The studies included in this edited volume explore discourses surrounding the ageing population, those who assist them, their families and the institutions/organisations that offer services to them. Qualitative and quantitative theoretical inputs from a variety of research domains – (socio)linguistics, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, cognitive science, as well as statistics and information technology – are employed to survey an array of themes that pay close attention to the linguistic, social, economic and ethical aspects regarding seniors. Different registers and genres are examined, which are produced by diverse diatopic distributions, diaphasic/diastratic variations and diamesic dimensions of the language. All this underlines the importance of integrating various strands of analysis and multidisciplinary perspectives to attend to the complexity of a changing discourse and a complex issue which are being looked at closely by the international scientific community. The book is suitable for a wide readership, including scholars and neophyte readers with an interest in discourse and cultural studies, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.

 

George, Molly. Aging in a Changing World: Older New Zealanders and Contemporary Multiculturalism. 2021. New York: Rutgers University Press. pp. 192. Price: $120 (Hardcover); $29,95 (Paperback, eBook). https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/aging-in-a-changing-world/9781978809406

This is a story about aging in place in a world of global movement. Around the world, many older people have stayed still but have been profoundly impacted by the movement of others. Without migrating themselves, many older people now live in a far “different country” than the one of their memories. Recently, the Brexit vote and the 2016 election of Trump have re-enforced prevalent stereotypes of “the racist older person”. This book challenges simplified images of the old as racist, nostalgic and resistant to change by taking a deeper, more nuanced look at older people’s complex relationship with the diversity and multiculturalism that has grown and developed around them. Aging in a Changing World takes a look at how some older people in New Zealand have been responding to and interacting with the new multiculturalism they now encounter in their daily lives. Through their unhurried, micro, daily interactions with immigrants, they quietly emerge as agents of the very social change they are assumed to oppose.

 

Gramshammer-Hhol, Dagmar and Oana Ursulesku, eds. Foreign Countries of Old Age: East and Southeast European Perspectives on Aging.  2020. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. pp. 400. Price: $47,15 (Paperback; eBook) https://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-4554-5/foreign-countries-of-old-age/

The exploration of what May Sarton calls the “foreign country of old age” usually does not go far beyond the familiar: the focus of aging studies has thus far clearly rested upon North America and Western Europe. This multidisciplinary essay collection critically examines conditions and representations of old age and aging in Eastern and Southeastern Europe from various perspectives of the humanities and social sciences. By shedding light on these culturally specific contexts, the contributions widen our understanding of the aging process in all its diversity and demonstrate that a shift in perspectives might in fact challenge a number of taken-for-granted positions and presumptions of aging studies.

 

Grenier, Amanda, Chris Phillipson, and Richard A. Settersten Jr., eds. Precarity and Ageing Understanding Insecurity and Risk in Later Life (Ageing in a Global Context). 2020. Bristol: Policy Press. Price: $100 (Hardcover); $33 (Paperback; e-Book). https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/precarity-and-ageing

What risks and insecurities do older people face in a time of both increased longevity and widening inequality? This edited collection develops an exciting new approach to understanding the changing cultural, economic and social circumstances facing different groups of older people. Exploring a range of topics, the chapters provide a critical review of the concept of precarity, highlighting the experiences of ageing that occur within the context of societal changes tied to declining social protection. Drawing together insights from leading voices across a range of disciplines, the book underscores the pressing need to address inequality across the life course and into later life.

 

Howell, Britteny, and Ryan Harrod, eds. Anthropological Perspectives on Aging. 2022. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. pp. 444. Price: $ 90 (Hardcover); $ 35 (Paperback). https://upf.com/book.asp?id=9780813069593

Taking a holistic approach to the study of aging, this volume uses biological, archaeological, medical, and cultural perspectives to explore how older adults have functioned in societies around the globe and throughout human history. As the world’s population over 65 years of age continues to increase, this wide-ranging approach fills a growing need for both academics and service professionals in gerontology, geriatrics, and related fields.

Case studies from the United States, Tibet, Turkey, China, Nigeria, and Mexico provide examples of the ways age-related changes are influenced by environmental, genetic, sociocultural, and political-economic variables. Taken together, they help explain how the experience of aging varies across time and space. These contributions from noted anthropological scholars examine evolutionary and biological understandings of human aging, the roles of elders in various societies, issues of gender and ageism, and the role of chronic illness and “successful aging” among older adults.

This volume highlights how an anthropology of aging can illustrate how older adults adapt to shifting life circumstances and environments, including changes to the ways in which individuals and families care for them. The research in Anthropological Perspectives on Aging can also help researchers, students, and practitioners reach across disciplines to address age discrimination and help improve health outcomes throughout the life course.

 

Kingfisher, Catherine. Collaborative Happiness: Building the Good Life in Urban Cohousing Communities. 2021. New York/Oxford: Berghahn. pp. 254. Price: $ 135 (Hardcover); $ 34,95 (eBook). https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/KingfisherCollaborative

Understudied relative to other forms of intentional community, and under-recognized in policy-making circles, urban cohousing communities situate wellbeing as simultaneously social and subjective, while catering for groups of people so diverse in age. Collaborative Happiness looks at two such urban cohousing communities: Kankanmori, in Tokyo; and Quayside Village, in Vancouver. In expanding beyond mainstream approaches to happiness focused exclusively on the individual, Quayside Village and Kankanmori provide an alternative model for how to understand and practice the good life in an increasingly urbanized world marked by crisis of both social and environmental sustainability.

 

Kopelent Rehak, Jana. We Live in the Water Climate, Aging, and Socioecology on Smith Island. 2024. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Price: $ 34,95 (Paperback; eBook). https://www.press.jhu.edu/books/title/53758/we-live-water.

Island environments are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of rapidly rising waters, accelerating ecological crisis. While we often think of this environmental reality in terms of the Global North and South, Alaska, or Micronesian or Indian nations, the devastating effects of a changing climate are also found on islands in the mid-Atlantic. In We Live in the Water, anthropologist Jana Kopelent Rehak sheds light on the profound impacts of a changing environment on the small coastal community of Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

This fascinating ethnographic account of Smith Island residents examines the challenges faced by an aging community that is grappling with flooding, land erosion, and population loss. By combining socioecology, life course theory, and eco-phenomenology, Kopelent Rehak offers a comprehensive understanding of how people's engagement with their ever-changing environment shapes their ways of being. We Live in the Water offers a fresh perspective on the human dimensions of changing climate, inviting readers to witness the complex interactions between the environment and the island's collective identity. Through vivid narratives and firsthand accounts, Kopelent Rehak explores the islanders' deep connection to their land and how they reinvent their traditions over generations.

By bridging the gap between ecological studies and environmental anthropology, Kopelent Rehak provides a compelling framework for understanding the impacts of environmental crises on local communities and emphasizes the importance of integrated research in shaping public discourse.

 

Łuszczyńska, Maria. Ageing as a Social Challenge: Individual, Family and Social Aspects in Poland. 2021. Routledge publishing. pp. 376. Price: $ 162,5 (Hardcover); $ 50 (eBook) https://www.routledge.com/Ageing-as-a-Social-Challenge-Individual-Family-and-Social-Aspects-in-Poland/Luszczynska/p/book/9781032194837

With a focus on the case of Poland, where an ageing population poses a crucial challenge for the state’s social, family, and gerontological policy, this book explores ageing as a personal and social phenomenon, considering the ways in which the experience of ageing is shaped by younger generations’ attitudes, government support policies, local initiatives undertaken help older people stay active, and the ways in which the elderly themselves understand their own mortality. Employing demographic, philosophical, legal, psychological, gerontological perspectives, it emphasises activities that can support older adults locally or nationwide and proposes the development of a social policy and social attitudes that can facilitate changes in the social perception of ageing, together with a redistribution of resources for older adults. As such, it will appeal to scholars across the social sciences with interests in ageing and the lifecourse, as well as those who wish to support older adults with concrete solutions and familiarize themselves with the ageing process from an individual and social perspective.

 

Łuszczyńska, Maria, and Marvin Formosa, eds. Ageing and COVID-19: Making Sense of a Disrupted World. 2021. Routledge publishing. pp. 348. Price: $ 162,5 (Hardcover); Open Access (eBook). https://www.routledge.com/Ageing-and-COVID-19-Making-Sense-of-a-Disrupted-World/Luszczynska-Formosa/p/book/9781032194677

This volume presents a range of research approaches to the exploration of ageing during a pandemic situation. One of the first collections of its kind, it offers an array of studies employing research methodologies that lend themselves to replication in similar contexts by those seeking to understand the effects of epidemics on older people. Thematically organised, it shows how to reconcile qualitative and quantitative approaches, thus rendering them complementary, bringing together studies from around the world to offer an international perspective on ageing as it relates to an unprecedented epidemiological phenomenon. As such, it will appeal to researchers in the field of gerontology, as well as sociologists of medicine and clinicians seeking to understand the disruptive effects of the recent coronavirus outbreak on later life.

 

Pittman, LaShawnDa L. Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival. 2023. Oakland: University of California Press. pp. 223. Price: $85 (Hardcover); $29,95 (Paperback); $29,95 (PDF) https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520389960/grandmothering-while-black

In Grandmothering While Black, sociologist LaShawnDa L. Pittman explores the complex lives of Black grandmothers raising their grandchildren in skipped-generation households (consisting only of grandparents and grandchildren). She prioritizes the voices of Black grandmothers through in-depth interviews and ethnographic research at various sites—doctor's visits, welfare offices, school and day care center appointments, caseworker meetings, and more. Through careful examination, she explores the various forces that compel, constrain, and support Black grandmothers' caregiving.

Pittman showcases a fundamental change in the relationship between grandmother and grandchild as grandmothers confront the paradox of fulfilling the social and legal functions of motherhood without the legal rights of the role. Grandmothering While Black illuminates the strategies used by grandmothers to manage their legal marginalization vis-à-vis parents and the state across a range of caregiving arrangements. In doing so, it reveals the overwhelming and painful decisions Black grandmothers must make to ensure the safety and well-being of the next generation.

 

Repetti, Marion, and Toni Calasanti. Retirement Migration and Precarity in Later Life. 2023. Bristol: Policy Press. pp. 160. Price: $ 101,65 (Hardcover); $ 34,35 (eBook). https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/retirement-migration-and-precarity-in-later-life

The last few decades have seen an increase in the migration of ageing people from richer Northern and Western countries to poorer Southern and Eastern countries. This book seeks to understand the motivation behind retirement migration and how precarity in later life contributes to this trend.

Drawing on accounts of retirees from different nations, the book examines how welfare policies in their home country and their country of migration interact to shape their experiences of migration.

It shows how ageism impacts social precarity across different social classes, and across economic, social and health dimensions. It also evaluates how local and global systems of inequalities influence retirement migrants’ experience, providing both opportunities and constraints that differ across countries.

 

Sampaio, Dora. Migration, Diversity and Inequality in Later Life: Ageing at a Crossroads. 2022. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 186. Price: $113,5 (Hardcover);  $109 (eBook). https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-10894-5

This book is the first comprehensive ethnographic study of the diversity of living and ageing experiences of three groups of older migrants – return, lifestyle and ageing-in-place labour migrants – from a comparative perspective. It explores the motivations, ageing experiences and aspirations of transnational ageing migrants in the context of the Portuguese islands of the Azores and situates the research within debates of the ageing-migration nexus. The book’s interdisciplinary approach to transnational embodied and emplaced experiences of ageing facilitates a dialogue between various fields concerned with ageing and mobilities, including geography, anthropology, sociology, social gerontology, social work, and studies of health and wellbeing.

 

Sangaramoorthy, Thurka. Landscapes of Care: Immigration and Health in Rural America. 2023. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 196. Price: $99 (Hardcover); $22,95 (Paperback); Open Access (eBook) https://uncpress.org/book/9781469674179/landscapes-of-care/

This insightful work on rural health in the United States examines the ways immigrants, mainly from Latin America and the Caribbean, navigate the health care system in the United States. Since 1990, immigration to the United States has risen sharply, and rural areas have seen the highest increases. Thurka Sangaramoorthy reveals that that the corporatization of health care delivery and immigration policies are deeply connected in rural America. Drawing from fieldwork that centers on Maryland’s sparsely populated Eastern Shore, Sangaramoorthy shows how longstanding issues of precarity among rural health systems along with the exclusionary logics of immigration have mutually fashioned a “landscape of care” in which shared conditions of physical suffering and emotional anxiety among immigrants and rural residents generate powerful forms of regional vitality and social inclusion. Sangaramoorthy connects the Eastern Shore and its immigrant populations to many other places around the world that are struggling with the challenges of global migration, rural precarity, and health governance. Her extensive ethnographic and policy research shows the personal stories behind health inequity data and helps to give readers a human entry point into the enormous challenges of immigration and rural health.

 

Ward, Richard, and Linn J. Sandberg, eds. Critical Dementia Studies: An Introduction. 2023. New York: Routledge. pp. 312. Price: $146 (Hardcover); Open Access (PDF). https://www.routledge.com/Critical-Dementia-Studies-An-Introduction/Ward-Sandberg/p/book/9781032118802

This book puts the critical into dementia studies. It makes a timely and novel contribution to the field, offering a thought-provoking critique of current thinking and debate on dementia. Collectively the contributions gathered together in this text make a powerful case for a more politically engaged and critical treatment of dementia and the systems and structures that currently govern and frame it.

The book is inter-disciplinary and draws together leading dementia scholars alongside dementia activists from around the world. It frames dementia as first and foremost a political category. The book advances both theoretical and methodological thinking in the field as well as sharing learning from empirical research. Outlining the limits to existing efforts to frame and theorise the condition, it proposes a new critical movement for the field of dementia studies and practice.

The book will be of direct interest to researchers and scholars in the field of dementia studies and wider fields of health, disability and care. It will provide a novel resource for students and practitioners in the fields of dementia, health care and social care. The book also has implications for dementia policymaking, commissioning and community development.

 

Willis, Paul, Ilkka Pietilä, and Marjaana Seppänen, eds. Ageing, Men and Social Relations: New Perspectives on Masculinities and Men's Social Connections in Later Life. (forthcoming) March 2024. pp. 248. Price: $103 (Hardcover); $34 (Paperback; eBook) https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/ageing-men-and-social-relations

While there has been a gradual increase in scholarship on men, ageing and masculinities, little attention has been paid to the social relations of men in later life and the implications for enhancing their social wellbeing and counteracting ageist discourse. Bringing together scholars in social gerontology and the social sciences from across Global North and South nations, this collection fills the gaps in key texts by foregrounding older men’s experiences. It provides new perspectives across the intersections of old age, ethnicities, class and sexual and gender identity, paying particular attention to older men from seldom heard or marginalised groups.

 

Ylläne, Virpi, ed. Ageing and the Media: International Perspectives. (forthcoming) February 2024. Bristol: Policy Press. pp. 232. Price: $103 (Hardcover); $33 (Paperback; eBook) https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/ageing-and-the-media

Media representations of ageing play a role in stereotype formation and even reinforce them. Encountering these stereotypes can negatively impact the self-esteem, health status, physical wellbeing and cognitive performance of older people. This international collection examines different dimensions of ageing and ageism in a range of media. Chapters include explorations of the UK media during the COVID-19 pandemic; age, gender and mental health in Ghana; advertising in Brazil; magazines in Canada; Taiwanese newspapers; comics, graphic novels and more. Bringing together leading scholars, this book critically considers differences in media portrayals and how older adults use and interact with the media.

MULTIMODAL WORKS FOR REVIEW

Pino, Angélica Cabezas. This Is My Face (Esta Es Mi Cara): What Lies Inside a Journey with HIV2018. Cerebro Films. https://www.ethnocineca.at/en/esta-es-mi-cara/

In Chile, people who live with HIV fear stigma and exclusion, and often conceal their condition and remain silent about what they are and have been going through. Esta es mi Cara – This is My Face explores what happens when a group of men living with the virus open up about the chronic disease that changed their life trajectories. The film follows a creative process whereby the protagonists produce photographic portraits that represent their (often painful) memories and feelings, a process that helps them challenge years of silence, shame, and misrepresentations. A lesson in the power of collaborative storytelling.

 

Sojob, María. Tote Abuelo. 2019. Terra Nostra Films/ Foprocine Imcine. http://www.totedocumental.com/en/

In her deeply personal debut documentary feature, Tzotzil filmmaker María Sojob documents the unexpected encounter between an old man, who is going blind, and his granddaughter, who has a limited memory of her childhood. As the grandfather weaves a traditional hat, the threads of family history are untangled. Between the silences, it becomes possible to understand the meaning of love in Tzotzil. A deceptively simple film, Tote/Abuelo/Grandfather is a complex portrait that contrasts the point of view of a younger generation with a traditional world that was largely marginalized.