Narratives of Positive Aging: Seaside Stories

ISBN : 9780199918041

Amia Lieblich
208 Pages
173 x 236 mm
Pub date
Aug 2014
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In Narratives of Positive Aging, Amia Lieblich presents a qualitative study that explores the life narratives of elderly men and women who engage in practices of "positive aging." They belong to a spontaneous community that assembles daily, early in the morning, on a beach near Tel-Aviv, Israel. At the seaside, the elders practice various outdoor sports, and converse over coffee at the local cafe. Based on their narratives, procured by individual open-ended interviews, and the author's participant observation, the book explores the impact of routine, physical activity, and social relationships on successful aging. Lieblich additionally presents an analysis of the tension-minimizing discourse adopted at the cafe and the pleasant bubble-like environment it fosters amongst the community members. Finally, the book debates the adaptive role of narrating one's life story, and its perceived manifestation of wisdom. A combination of complete life stories and extracts of conversations recorded on the beach color every chapter. These texts are complimented and elucidated by a variety of academic claims, theories and findings concerning narratives and aging. This book, based on an Israeli field study, may be viewed both as a local case study as well as a lesson relevant to aging everywhere.


Chapter 1: The setting: Field research in a seaside moveable community
Chapter 2: Reserved seats: On routines and aging
Chapter 3: Stopping time: The active life style of the elderly
Chapter 4: Forging a community of equals
Chapter 5: The discourse of the seaside community: Creating a bubble
Chapter 6: Wisdom, aging and stories
Chapter 7. Concluding reflections
Appendix 1. Methodological comments
Appendix 2. List of members of the community

About the author: 

Amia Lieblich, a psychologist and a writer, was educated in Israel and received her PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1967. Among the pioneers of narrative research, her academic work explores different psychological aspects of Israeli society, including the effects of prolonged war and military service, gender issues, and the kibbutz. Currently she is the president of a college that specializes in training therapists using expressive arts.

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