Department of Sociology

Corey Abramson - "The Unequal End-Game: How Structure and Culture Shape Our Final Years"

Wed, October 17, 2012 | BUR 214

12:00 PM

Abstract: Growing old presents physical problems for everyone. However, when these problems occur and how people confront them are mediated by inequalities that reflect persistent socioeconomic, racial, and gender divides. Some people respond to the challenges of old age, such as declining health or the death of loved ones, by deploying their wealth, social ties, and education. Others face the same problems with many fewer resources. Consequently, old age reflects inequalities both past and present. Drawing on three years of participant observation in four urban neighborhoods and 60 in-depth interviews with seniors from diverse backgrounds, Abramson’s study shows how inequality structures social life in old age—and what examining old age can tell us about inequality more generally. This talk explains how and why unequal resources, social networks, and culture extend inequality into seniors’ final years and ultimately shape the strategies they use to persevere.
Bio: Corey M. Abramson ( received his PhD in 2012 from the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. The book manuscript based in Abramson’s dissertation research, Inequality at the End: How Race and Class Shape our Final Years, is under contract at Harvard University Press. Abramson’s research uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how social stratification is expressed and reproduced. His recent publications on this topic appear in various journals including Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Qualitative Sociology, and the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.

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  • Department of Sociology

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