Learning to act old: Heroes, villains or old fools
Review articleOpen access

AbstractEarly work in gerontology stressed adaptability and implied a certain passivity in the formulation of aging self-concepts. More recent efforts have focused on intentionality and socially negotiated aspects of self-conception. This article asserts that the selection of role models evolves out of intentional consciousness and that these then stand as external referents for self-definition. Relying on our own proleptic imagery of who we want to be, we use personalized ideal types to orient our own behavior and attitudes. Utilizing a three-fold typology originated by Klapp, the discussion outlines three global ideal types that actors may use in charting their own course.

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