Abstract

This article explores several strands of ideas and tropes about age and aging that were articulated by a new and entrepreneurial rank of social experts in India. These social experts, attempted to explain the rapid changes transforming a newly independent nation. The knowledge and narratives generated by these Indian social experts and administrators will be explored in this work at specific historical conjunctures, beginning with the 1940’s when labor experts expressed anxieties about labor unrest, productivity and the breakdown of workers families; after Indian independence in the late 1940’s-1950’s amongst efforts to map, survey and regulate refugees and finally, by tracing discussions amongst Indian psychiatrists and social workers regarding the psychosocial pressures of climate and environment that were affecting various age groups in India in the 1950–60’s. This work suggests that unlike in welfare debates in the west in the 1940–50’s where aging began to be viewed as a social question and distinct social problem by itself, in India it was confounded with the lack of family, changing generational roles rather than as a distinct chronological stage and problem. Some of the key questions that inform this article are: How and why did age and aging begin to be viewed as risks that were associated with the failures of family life? How did age centered identities become more visible and begin to represent critical interests relating to productivity and socio-political control in these decades, and finally, how did social elites project these ideas and arguments?

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 968-993
Launched on MUSE
2014-06-24
Open Access
No
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