GERONTOLOGICAL SPACE AS A SOCIAL SPACE TYPE AND A SOCIOLOGICAL CATEGORY
Кандидат социологических наук, Доцент, Забайкальский государственный университет
ГЕРОНТОЛОГИЧЕСКОЕ ПРОСТРАНСТВО КАК ВИД СОЦИЛЬНОГО ПРОСТРАНСТВА И СОЦИОЛОГИЧЕСКАЯ КАТЕГОРИЯ
Проектирование геронтологического пространства, создание его прогнозной модели является актуальной задачей геронтосоциологии в условиях демографического старения. Цель статьи осмысление понятия "геронтологическое пространство" как социологической категории и вида социального пространства на основе интегративных социальных теорий и уточнения ряда положений геронтосоциологии.
В геронтологическом пространстве мы выделили личностный, групповой и институциональный уровни. Структура геронтологического пространства динамична, она зависит с одной стороны от социальной политики государства, тех конкретно-исторических обстоятельств, которые определяют развитие общества и конкретной территории, с другой – качественными и количественными характеристиками группы пожилых и старых людей, их потребностями. Были определены следующие характеристики геронтологического пространства: многомерность, сложность, сенсетивность, конформность, интегрированность, многоуровневость, специфичность.
Ключевые слова: Пожилые Люди, Социальное Пространство, Геронтологическое Пространство, Геронтосоциология, Интегративные Социальные Теории, Социальное Взаимодействие.
PhD in Sociology, Associate professor, Transbaikal State University
GERONTOLOGICAL SPACE AS A SOCIAL SPACE TYPE AND A SOCIOLOGICAL CATEGORY
The designing of gerontological space, creating a predictive model is the challenge of the demographic ageing of gerontosociologii. The purpose of the article is to interpret the meaning of a gerontological space as a sociological category and a social space type on the base of integrative social theories and clarification of some gerontological ideas. In gerontological space can be divided personal, group and institutional levels. A gerontological space structure is dynamic one. On one hand, it depends on social policy within a country and those special historical circumstances which will determine social development and development of a designated area. On the other hand, it is influenced by qualitative and quantitative characteristics of a seniors group and their needs. We defined the following gerontological space characteristics: multidimensionality, complexity, sensitivity, conformity, integratedness,multiple-level system, specific.Keywords: Senior Citizens, Social Space, Gerontological Space, Gerontosociology, Integrative Social Theories, Social Interaction.
Social world is a complex system of interactions and processes consisting of many subsystems, fields and spaces where persons and groups of persons hold corresponding positions. Social position, interests, and needs of society members and their groups are considered traditionally in the context of social structure; in our opinion, these questions can be viewed from the social space perspective that gives us an opportunity to examine and define interaction and adaptation level of social groups. It also helps us to analyze their interaction with social institutions taking into account traditions, culture, and development characteristics of a designated area and revealing current and possible problems.
According to the research results, we stated the absence of a single definition of a social space as a scientific category. The scientific research of O.S. Chernyakovskaya  defines three approaches:
- social space as interaction circumstances for social agents;
- social space as a structure of statuses and social positions;
- social meaning of physical space which includes interactions between physical and social space.
According to modern sociologists, streams of human actions and social processes take place in dynamics within a social space. It is possible to find and evaluate various social members and their statuses through social space division into structural elements (positions) at a certain space point. In other words, social space can be seen as an environment where social relations appear, social processes are under way, and social positions and fields which have functional dependence on each other are determined. A social space is an organized multidimensional system and it has its limits.
In terms of progressive demographical ageing and a large quantity of senior citizens, gerontological space can be described and structured as a social space type by means of senior citizens’ life style characteristics. Although medical and philosophical aspects of gerontology have a significant role, we believe it is social aspects that have primary importance in senior citizens’ and elders’ group analysis in modern conditions. It is a sociological view that helps to study seniors problems, define their social status in the system of social relations, determine integration and adaptation level, and design a model to project and plan their living taking into account the social group characteristics.
The purpose of the article is to interpret the meaning of a gerontological space as a sociological category and a social space type on the base of systematization of different theories, clarification of some gerontosociological ideas, description of its basic characteristics and levels, and its model designing.
Material and methods
To achieve the goal, as a methodological base we used theoretical social space structures proposed by P. Sorokin and P. Bourdieu. We also applied principles of social system theory developed by T. Parsons and R. Merton, G. Homans’s and P. Blau’s social exchange theories.
In gerontological space a senior is supposed to be a main member; the space type also includes life support and seniors support systems. It can be divided into personal, group and institutional levels.
A personal level is a value system of a senior, his needs, interests and other personal characteristics which can define his behavior and life strategy.
A group level is seen, firstly, in a senior’s inner circle composed of his active interactions (e.g. family, labour collective, neighbors, friends). Secondly, this level should be considered in the context of seniors group differentiation, since the group is heterogeneous speaking about such features as health conditions, employment, living standard, age, ideology, etc. The characteristics may form separate groups of seniors who have mutual interests, problems, and common points. From this perspective classification of seniors groups will be of some interest for scientists.
An institutional level has an organized and purposeful nature; the level is defined by activity of social institutions which promote adaptation and integration of senior citizens in modern society. Here integration is considered to be a harmonic coexistence of different social elements, harmonization of relations among various social groups, their interdependence and constructive interaction . The level includes a social protection system, i.e. a stable organizational form of social security and human services for senior citizens.
Results and discussion
A gerontological space structure is dynamic one. On one hand, it depends on social policy within a country and those special historical circumstances which will determine social development and development of a designated area. On the other hand, it is influenced by qualitative and quantitative characteristics of a seniors group and their needs. These two components are interdependent; they influence on each other, defining its development direction and opportunities, resources and social system potential.
Gerontological space structure elements are: social infrastructure that provides senior citizens living and includes various institutions forming a social protection and health care systems, cultural, educational and leisure facilities; living standards; social groups and organizations, state and municipal authorities participating in seniors support.
The listed elements are interrelated and interdependent on each level of gerontological space and form a single unit which should be integral and should meet system requirements by its definition, but it does not work this way today. There are some problems that do not foster and, moreover, slow down the integration processes in gerontological space and society as a whole.
Gerontological space has intersection points and coexists with such types of social spaces as sociopolitical, socioeconomic, sociocultural, international, ideological, religious, and educational ones, etc. All of them are characterized both by integrative and separating features influencing on each other and changing dynamics and direction of some processes that take place in social space. Thus, the whole situation requires a consistent analysis, modeling and programming to reach the equilibrium of the system and its balanced development.
We defined the following gerontological space characteristics:
- multidimensionality as it includes a plenty of criteria and factors determining seniors group living;
- complexity originated from abundance of various elements and interrelations;
- sensitivity revealed in a high level of sensibility to social changes and social life transformations;
- conformity, i.e. behavior of agents who are members of one group and who abide by norms according to values existing within the group;
- integratedness reflected in social life unity and agents’ activity based on consent concerning a stated order to achieve possible stable condition in the system of social relations. At the same time, there is an inner differentiation of some factors. Hence, both “external” integratedness and inner differentiation coexist and may be characterized by the same features;
- multiple-level system, since it has different levels of agents: personal, group, and institutional ones;
- specificity defined by a living type of the population group that requires careful attention and has its direct and indirect influence on many social and economic processes in our society.
The analysis of gerontological space as a sociological category and its model designing will let us study the problems of senior citizens, their social well-being, integration and adaptation level more deeply. It also gives us an opportunity to classify senior citizens in terms of demographical aging, to project its effects and to develop a program to provide harmonic coexistence of all social groups and classes in dynamic social space. Studying of seniors problems in the context of their involvement into social space extends sociogerontological research boundaries significantly and gives us a chance to find better solutions concerning their social integration and adaptation.
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