Aging and gender in Tanzania: Uncovering the cultural schemas, nexus of identities and the Aging Body

Sylivia Karen Rutagumirwa

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    The meanings attributed to aging are culture-specific and gender-related constructions. This PhD thesis provides new knowledge about the cultural aspects of older Tanzanians’ interpretations of their aging experiences and gender identities in later life. Grounded theory approach was used to analyse emerging themes. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions involving both men and women in Tanzania. Findings indicate that cultural aspects (such as cultural schemas, scripts and habitus) that older people acquired and internalised in their early cultural socialization actively functions in later life, moulding their perceptions and thoughts and shaping their behaviours. Specifically, the findings reveal that older adults in this study used the prevailing cultural schema of intergenerational caregiving to interpret their care needs and experiences. It also emerged that gender performances are altered by the age-related decline in the body, given that the body is the vehicle for ‘doing gender’ as well as for survival, especially for women and men of a low socio-economic status. The findings show that engaging in gender-typed roles is important to older women and men in order to retain their gendered ‘symbolic capital’ in the form of status, respect, and power. The discrepancy between the experiences of aging and the internalised cultural aspects affected the older adults’ processes of self-identification, and resulted in levels of emotional distress that threatened their wellbeing. Furthermore, this thesis makes a number of social policy recommendations, including the importance of promoting interventions that are tailored to their cultural and socioeconomic contexts.
    Translated title of the contributionVerouderen en Gender in Tanzania: Het blootleggen van de culturele schema’s, samenhang van identiteiten en het verouderen van het lichaam
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Hutter, Inge, Supervisor
    • Bailey, Ajay, Co-supervisor
    • Zeelen, Jacobus, Assessment committee
    • Fokkema, Tineke, Supervisor, External person
    • Harcourt, R., Assessment committee, External person
    Award date5-Jul-2018
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-6295-994-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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