Managing Change in Old Age

The Control of Meaning in an Institutional Setting

By Haim Hazan

Subjects: Israel Studies
Series: SUNY series in Anthropology and Judaic Studies
Paperback : 9780791410646, 182 pages, September 1992
Hardcover : 9780791410639, 182 pages, September 1992

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Table of contents

List of Tables



Introduction—On Managing Change in Old Age

1. The Setting

2. Spheres of Relevance

3. Fields of Control

4. The Discussion Group

5. The Handicrafts Group

6. The Synagogue Group

7. Conclusion: Managing Change—A Synchronic Perspective

Postscript: Accounts and Accountability—Reporting Old Age





This book is an ethnographic study of an old age home in Israel that sheds light on the existential experience of elderly retirees. Hazan looks carefully at the universal concerns of old age, specifically examining the nature of everyday life in the institutional setting. He shows the workings of the micropolitics of control in an old age home and the tension between controlling dwindling resources and sustaining life-long meaning for residents. He also effectively brings out distinctive features of the Israeli situation, its cultural and bureaucratic codes. Hazan's study of the life cycle, based in the anthropology of process, is a senstive portrayal of the dynamics of institutionalized elderly in a complex society.

Haim Hazan is in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University.


"Hazan's book is interesting to read and that it is one of its strengths. It describes in rich detail the meaning of growing old in a home, stressing the diverse ways this is achieved. Hazan helps to dispel the prevailing concern with adaptation or adjustment so frequently found in the gerontological literature. The case study is informed by a sound explanatory framework, grounded in principles of understanding and explication. 'Fields of control' and 'spheres of influence' are the organizing concepts, providing a handy means of bringing the empirical matter to life. The contribution is important to the field of aging because the field has been dominated by a 'linear' view of the aging experience, emphasizing needs and successful adjustment to the denigration of its complications and dynamism. " — Jaber F. Gubrium, University of Florida