Corey Abramson - Jensen Series
Friday, February 23, 2018 - 1:30pm
Dr. Corey Abramson of University of Arizona will give a talk entitled: The End Game: How Inequality Shapes Our Final Years
Growing old presents physical problems for everyone. However, when these problems occur and how people confront them are mediated by inequalities that reflect persistent socioeconomic, racial, and gender divides. Some people respond to common challenges of old age such as declining health, the death of loved ones, or the implications of having an aged body in a society that values youthfulness, by deploying immense wealth, social ties, and education to combat the symbolic and practical dilemmas they face. Others approach the same problems with accumulated disadvantages which reflect a lifetime of unequal circumstances. Consequently, old age both reflects and reveals inequalities past and present. Drawing on two and a half years of participant observation in four urban neighborhoods and 60 in-depth interviews with seniors from diverse backgrounds, Abramson’s study shows how inequality structures social life in old age—and what examining old age can tell us about inequality more generally. This talk explains how and why health disparities, unequal material resources, social networks, and culture extend inequality into seniors’ final years and ultimately shape the strategies that may (or may not) enable people to persevere against the backdrop of American inequality.
Corey M. Abramson is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Arizona. His research uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand how inequality is reproduced over time. His current works focus on explicating how the connections between inequality, culture and health structure experiences and outcomes over the life course. His recent book on this topic, The End Game: How Inequality Shapes Our Final Years was published by Harvard University Press in 2015 and released in paperback in 2017. Since its release, The End Game has been awarded the 2016 Outstanding Publication Award by the American Sociological Association Section (ASA) on Aging and the Life Course, selected for an Author Meets Critic Session at the ASA, used by policy advocacy groups such as the AARP and Justice in Aging, and featured in national media outlets including The New York Times and The Atlantic. Abramson’s recent methodological works—published in Sociological Methodology and Ethnography, and supported by a $1.47 million dollar PCORI grant—focus on integrating computational techniques to improve the scalability, replicability, and transparency of large multi-site ethnographic projects. His current book project deploys these techniques to analyze a unique data set containing 7 years of distributed field observation in 10 cancer clinics, over 250 in-depth interviews, and a survey of terminal cancer patients in order to explain how culture structures and stratifies the end of life. Abramson is also co-editing a new volume to be published by Oxford University Press (with Neil Gong) that charts the diverse logics and practices of comparative ethnography. Abramson received his Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley in 2012.