Aging: Sociological Concept

Sociological Imagination and Its Use by Sociologists

Sociological imagination is the capacity to understand the connection between personal life, and the results of large social powers. Sociological imagination helps us to understand the bad historical scene and the relationship that exists between people in society and enables us to make sense of the social condition by showing how our troubles affect or are influenced by public issues. Sociological imaginations help us address social problems which exist in society. For example, there is the debate on the link between power and social knowledge, where companies that gather more information about the habits and preference of consumers, can gain too much power and control of the market (Puga & Easthope, 2017).

Differences and Similarities of Controlling Image and Stereotypes

According to Organista, Marin & Chun (2010), the controlling image refers to adverse ethnic and gender stereotype aimed at lesser marginalized groups, to justify and uphold the norms and powers of a central group. Controlling images are similar to stereotypes because it targets lesser groups like blacks, and women, and affirms the powers and norms of the dominant group. In Vietnam and Korea, control imaging negatively affected how women constructed and enacted gender in their daily lives, while in America, black men have been stereotyped as neglectful, deviant and irresponsible in their family and social roles. However, controlling images can be different from stereotypes because it aims at dehumanizing and controlling specific minority groups by gender or race, while stereotypes aim at bringing better treatment and quality care, in a therapeutic relationship, thus help to meet needs of specific clients who need help.

Importance of Historical and Social Context on Age Gendering

Human actions transcend differences in race, gender, age, culture, and the social and historical circumstances; therefore, the historical and societal background is vital in understanding age gendering because they have the cognitive ability to make sense of another person’s action. The social and historical context integrates behavioral facts and knowledge about the sociocultural settings which are necessary for offering explanations of why people cry (Repko, Newell & Szostak, 2011).

According to Higgs & Gilleard (2017), social and historical context is crucial in offering an understanding gendering of age because it mediates issues which prove problematic to women, within which midlife women engage with the health problems they experience.


Ageism refers the stereotypical construction and prejudices against an age group, which manifests as behaviors attitudes and institutional practices and represents discrimination of old people, by the middle-aged group. In the United States, ageism has been attributed to the prejudice of one group against the other, specifically by the young people towards the old. For example, the United States of Administration on ageing indicates that a large percentage of the elderly is marginally poor, or economically vulnerable. Moreover, there is an ageist stereotypical perception that older women who sit on rocks and knit all days continually complain about their ailments (In Ayalon & In Tesch-Römer, 2018).

Social Construction of Age

Social construction is the impression where individuals and groups produce their perception of knowledge and reality. It also refers to how people’s expectations influence the available opportunities open to individuals as they group old. Age is socially constructed through shaping the meaning and experience of aging to include the expectations and assumptions of those around us, about how we should behave, whether we are like, what we can do, and what we should be doing at different ages (Morgan & Kunkel, 2007).


Application of Aging in Sociological Thoughts of Relational Power

Infeld (2002) outlined that aging has helped sociologists accept that power is relational because it increases our thoughts of the spiritual and religious wellbeing, of old American worshippers engaging in Judeo-Christian tradition faith-based sects. Aging has enabled sociologists to hold conceptualization regarding how religiosity diverge from a biblical perspective, and the limited investigations about the aspects of religious activities like gender relations or power on the probable health profits of spiritual behavior. Moreover, aging helps us understand spiritual actions through exploring a concert ritual which has a particular salience on old people, as a figurative illustration of power among the elderly. A better understanding of the ritual supports the representation and the reproduction of power of elderly such as the rural Japanese society because they are located in an age grade structure which is the portion of the political association of the area.



Higgs, P., & Gilleard, C. J. (2017). Rethinking old age: Theorising the fourth age.

In Ayalon, L., & In Tesch-Römer, C. (2018). Contemporary Perspectives on Ageism.

Infeld, D. L. (2002). Disciplinary Approaches to Aging: Biology of aging. Taylor & Francis.

Morgan, L. A., & Kunkel, S. (2007). Aging, society and the life course. New York: Springer.

Organista, P. B., Marin, G., & Chun, K. M. (2010). The psychology of ethnic groups in the United States. Los Angeles, Calif: SAGE.

Puga, I., & Easthope, R. (2017). The Sociological Imagination. Macat Library.

Repko, A. F., Newell, W. H., & Szostak, R. R. (2011). Case Studies in Interdisciplinary Research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.