Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Social Work


This paper consists of four parts. Part I is a review of the relationship of research and theory in social gerontology. Part II outlines the case for a symbolic interactionist theory of aging. Symbolic interaction is identified and discussed as a theoretical orientation compatible with a significant portion of the research in aging done within the “activity theory” tradition, and also capable of contributing to and informing intervention. Part III explores a number of recent efforts toward synthesis in social gerontology and Part IV explores contributions of those efforts to a symbolic interactionist theory of aging.

Source Citation

Parts of this manuscript were originally presented as New Wine. New Bottles? The Need for Theory in Social Aging at the Southern Sociological Association. Knoxville, TN. March, 1980.

Included in

Gerontology Commons



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