Corey Abramson
Corey Abramson

Growing old presents physical problems for everyone, but poor people, racial minorities and women face other inequalities that can tarnish the luster of the so-called “Golden Years.”

Corey M. Abramson is the author of a new book, The End Game (Harvard University Press, 2015), that shows how inequality structures social life in old age—and what examining old age can tell us about the mechanisms of inequality more generally.

Abramson will discuss his findings at a 3:30 p.m. talk on Wednesday (Sept. 2) at the Arizona Senior Academy. He will explain how and why health disparities, unequal material resources, social networks, and culture extend inequality into seniors’ final years and ultimately shape the strategies that may or may not enable people to persevere.

Corey Abramson book jacketThe End Game makes clear that, despite the shared experiences of old age, inequality remains a powerful arbiter of who wins and who loses in American society.

The author is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Arizona. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. Based on his dissertation research, his book used two-and-a-half years of comparative ethnographic research and 60 in depth interviews.

The book has received praise from other sociologists and public intellectuals. “Abramson brings a qualitative eye to a topic we have mainly known through statistics—mortality rates, actuarial estimates, and life expectancies,” said Mario Luis Small, a professor at Harvard University who added: “The book dispels stereotypes over and over; his elderly respondents work to maintain their image, laugh at their failing memories, and smoke marijuana.”

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, added: “American seniors face starkly different challenges depending on economic circumstances. The End Game provides a deeper understanding of how inequalities affect the entire passage of our lives.”

Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer

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The Links Between Social Status and Aging: September 2015
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