Ageing, Ageism, and Lost Honor

By: Shlomir Holland Manor  

This study examines the ways in which old people experience and narrate ageing, ageism, and the loss of honor in a traditional society situated within a modern Western society. The Arab society in Israel, which is undergoing processes of change and exposure to modernization but still exalts the familial values, serves as my case study. I present the discussion over the question of the extent to which the ageism phenomenon is prevalent in a traditional society that emphasizes familism, collectivism, mutual responsibility, honor, and respect for old people. Using qualitative methodologies, I exposed the narrative that shapes the discourse of ageing in a traditional society, such as that represented here by the Arabs in Israel. To that end, I interviewed twenty-five Arab men and women, Muslims and Christians, in the age range of 63-86, who reside in mixed cities or Arab villages. In other words, the study examines the ageism phenomenon as expressed through the personal experience of older Arab people with reference to unique cultural elements. The findings reveal a multilayered discourse, inconsistent and incoherent, which produces a narrative riddled with internal contradictions about honor and exclusion, ageism and its absence. The results demonstrate the way old people experience ageing and the attitude of Arab society in Israel towards the old. The issue of ageism in Arab society in Israel hasn't drawn the attention it deserves in gerontological research, and this study aims to fill this lacuna with a discussion of ageism in reference to the cultural context.

Ageing, Ageism, Culture
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Shlomir Holland Manor

Dr. Shlomit Holland-Manor is a Senior Sociologist at the Department of Sociology. The Western Galilee College, and Gerontology Department, University of Haifa, Israel. BA and MA in Sociology in University of Haifa, Israel. PhD in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Main interests: Identity of old age, Gender and ageing, Leisure and ageing, Intergenerational relations and grandparenthood.