life course

life course

the process of personal change, from infancy through to old age and death, brought about as a result of the interaction between ‘biographical events’ and ‘societal events’. The term is preferred by many to life cycle because, in recognizing that people do not experience their lives strictly in terms of chronology, it focuses on sociohistorical processes as both the result of human action and as a background to personal biography Life cycle may be regarded as the process of change and development of a person, an institution or an entity and is therefore similar in meaning to ‘life course’. However, because it suggests a continuous and renewable process, as in ‘the cycle of the seasons’, it has connotations of inevitability, similarity and determinism which may be considered inappropriate to an understanding of how human lives are experienced at the level of individual personal relationships and in the context of the social and historical forces which influence lives. Both terms are often used interchangeably, but current preference is for ‘life course’ for the reasons given.

Sociological and psychological concern with the life course has grown in recent years. One of the first theorists to propose that development does not end when adulthood is reached, and who described eight successive stages of psychosocial development, was Erik Erikson (1963). Other classic authors include Charlotte Bühler (1953), whose work, like Erikson's, particularly illustrates the NATIVIST approach, emphasizing the common process underlying the human life course (this being closest to the definition life cycle). Other authors (e.g. Dohrenwend and Dohrenwend, 1974) have emphasized the effect of different experiences, i.e. the contrast between lives rather than their similarities (this being closest to the definition life course).

References in periodicals archive ?
Across the life course, new forms of community, ways of keeping in contact, and practices for engaging in work, healthcare, retail, learning and leisure are evolving rapidly.
It is the largest study to date reporting causes of death in men and women across the life course, and the findings suggest that lifestyle, especially tobacco smoking, is an important component in the effect of intelligence on differences in mortality.
In 1993, clinical psychologist Terrie Moffitt presented a developmental theory that describes two key offending trajectories, the adolescent limited and life course persistent.
The first volume, on social and life course issues, explores such topics as demographic perspectives on global population aging; poverty, income, and wealth across the life course; immigration, life course, and aging; and marital status and living arrangements over the life course.
The exhibition will display his art life course through a collection of photos, papers and awards selected from the legacy of Zaki Nassif, whose heirs have deposited at the AUB Library.
Drawing on multiple perspectives from education, history, and sociology, the author (an associate professor of Educational Foundations at the University of Alabama at Birmingham) revisits longstanding debates about whether these educators were friends or foes of the Civil Rights movement using Black feminist thought and the life course perspective to illuminate the unique and often clandestine brand of activism that these teachers cultivated.
Global Aging: Comparative Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course
Reportedly, this global initiative is driven by the growing, changing and still underappreciated needs of an increasingly ageing population and the need for a life course of healthy skin to enhance well-being.
Naturally, each life course is unique and some had fared better than others moving into adulthood.
The Real Brass Ring: Change Your Life Course Now tells of the author's midlife crisis when she realized she was off-track physically, emotionally and spiritually-and decided to change.
com)-- The International Federation on Ageing has launched a global campaign to better understand the uptake of adult vaccinations and to promote awareness of the importance of vaccinations throughout the life course.
Very little policy or research effort strives to examine, over the long term, the relationship between education and employment, let alone other life course activities such as unemployment and "other" activities.