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Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad Sarah Lamb Indiana University Press


31st August 2011 History Books 4 Comments

“A timely investigation of remarkable, extraordinarily rapid, and previously unimaginable changes taking place within India’s urban middle-class families…. Beautifully written and readable… ethnographically rich and theoretically astute.” — Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University

(Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University 2010)

“Sarah Lamb’s compassionate voice and reflexive insights weave around the moving narratives of Bengali elders in this beautifully written, theoretically sophisticated ethnography. A classic in the anthropology of India, comparative modernities, and aging.” — Kirin Narayan, author of My Family and Other Saints

(Kirin Narayan, author of My Family and Other Saints 2010)

“This is a book that is accessible as well as significant, fun to read and with important applications to both theory and practice in several domains…. Many of Lamb’s informants are memorable and illustrate her point that agency remains among elders, that it is not just youth who initiate and think well about social change. The photos add to the quality of immediacy and liveliness. This is a recommended reading!” — H-Asia Reviews, February 2010

(H-Asia Reviews )

“Aging and the Indian Diaspora is lucidly written and solidly argued…. It should enjoy a wide readership among scholars of cross-cultural gerontology, as well as among those concerned with issues of family change among middle-class diasporic communities in the contemporary world. The book is also very well suited for classroom use, especially in advanced undergraduate courses on either of these topics.” — American Anthropologist, Vol. 112, No. 4, December 2010

(American Anthropologist )

Sarah Lamb is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. She is author of White Saris and Sweet Mangoes: Aging, Gender and Body in North India and co-editor of Everyday Life in South Asia (IUP, 2002).

The proliferation of old age homes and increasing numbers of elderly living alone are startling new phenomena in India. These trends are related to extensive overseas migration and the transnational dispersal of families. In this moving and insightful account, Sarah Lamb shows that older persons are innovative agents in the processes of social-cultural change. Lamb’s study probes debates and cultural assumptions in both India and the United States regarding how best to age; the proper social-moral relationship among individuals, genders, families, the market, and the state; and ways of finding meaning in the human life course.

“A timely investigation of remarkable, extraordinarily rapid, and previously unimaginable changes taking place within India’s urban middle-class families…. Beautifully written and readable… ethnographically rich and theoretically astute.” — Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University

“Sarah Lamb’s compassionate voice and reflexive insights weave around the moving narratives of Bengali elders in this beautifully written, theoretically sophisticated ethnography. A classic in the anthropology of India, comparative modernities, and aging.” — Kirin Narayan, author of My Family and Other Saints

“This is a book that is accessible as well as significant, fun to read and with important applications to both theory and practice in several domains…. Many of Lamb’s informants are memorable and illustrate her point that agency remains among elders, that it is not just youth who initiate and think well about social change. The photos add to the quality of immediacy and liveliness. This is a recommended reading!” — H-Asia Reviews, February 2010

“Aging and the Indian Diaspora is lucidly written and solidly argued…. It should enjoy a wide readership among scholars of cross-cultural gerontology, as well as among those concerned with issues of family change among middle-class diasporic communities in the contemporary world. The book is also very well suited for classroom use, especially in advanced undergraduate courses on either of these topics.” — American Anthropologist, Vol. 112, No. 4, December 2010

Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad (Tracking Globalization)

The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives

“This third edition of the study of aging in many cultures, edited by Sokolovsky (anthropology, University of South Florida) has been much expanded and updated. . . . The book is replete with supporting statistics, notes and an extensive bibliography.”

Reference & Research Book News

The consequences of global aging will influence virtually all areas of life to be encountered in the 21st century, including the biological limits of healthy longevity, the generational contract and nature of family ties, the makeup of households and communities, symbolic representations of midlife and old age and attitudes toward disability and death. The new edition of the award winning book The Cultural Context of Aging: World-Wide Perspectives covers all these topics and more. This unique volume uses a qualitative, case study approach to look at the rapidly emerging new cultural spaces and social scripts through which mid and late life are being encountered globally. It is completely revised with over thirty new original works covering China, Japan, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, indigenous Amazonia, rural Italy and the ethnic landscape of the U.S.

A new feature of the book includes an integrated set of web book articles listed in the table of contents and available on the book’s web site: . This is in addition to the largest web support of its kind providing literature updates, educational activities and even access to power points, graphics and video supplementing the text.

In this one of a kind edited text, readers will encounter the laughing clubs of India, the centenarian diet plan of Okinawa, the waltzing elders of urban China, aging in a true woman-centered society, the elderscapes of Florida, the challenge of “Conscious Aging,” Japan’s robotic granny minders, Denmark’s “Flexsecurity” long-term care system; the Midwest’s elder-friendly communities, “Eldertopia” and the “Green House” model for dementia care. Welcome to your future!

The Cultural Context of Aging: Worldwide Perspectives










  • 4 responses to "Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad Sarah Lamb Indiana University Press"

  • Laraine Avello
    13:06 on August 31st, 2011
    Reply to comment

    I pre-ordered this book as I had been a big fan of Sarah Lamb’s first ethnography (White Saris and Sweet Mangoes), and I was equally or even more delighted by this sequel. Aging and the Indian Diaspora focuses on cosmopolitan, middle-class families living in India and abroad, as they cope with aging in a transnational era. It focuses on remarkable changes taking place in India, such as the surge of old age homes, the increasing prevalence of living alone, and the transnational dispersal of families. Sarah Lamb writes beautifully, in a clear, engrossing and accessible style, and she also makes very interesting comparisons to the ways we think about aging and being a person in the United States–features that will make the book very useful in teaching. The book provides just the right amount of engagement with theory–contributing to theoretical understandings of globalization, modernity, aging, agency and personhood–while offering the moving stories and reflective insights of her informants. As a blurb on the back cover states, this book is destined to become “a classic in the anthropology of India, comparative modernities, and aging.”

  • webdiva
    22:37 on August 31st, 2011
    Reply to comment

    This is a terrific book. The ethnography of the old age homes in Kolkata is vivid and moving, and the book then moves to the new trend of elders living alone in India and to those who migrate to the U.S. in later life to live with or near U.S.-settled children. The sweep is enormous but very well controlled, reader-friendly and engrossing throughout. The mix of bigger picture coverage and intimate portraits is careful and informative. The closing chapter takes on the contradictions of U.S. aged welfare policies and immigration, with closing words that move from policy to much bigger human issues. Much appreciated from a grateful reader! The book will be illuminating and appealing for any members of the Indian diaspora, and will also be very successful in college and university courses on aging, globalization, South Asia, multi-sited anthropological fieldwork and ethnographic writing. (And if you are of Indian descent with older parents or grandparents back in India, this is a must-read book for you!)

  • bonelyfish
    18:06 on September 3rd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    This third edition of Jay Sokolovsky’s classic “The Cultural Context of Aging” offers rich, readable, engrossing and fascinating essays by leading anthropologists and other scholars studying aging world-wide. The collection includes longer essays and smaller inserted “boxes” meant to grab students’ and readers’ attention, as well as very useful editorial introductions. The volume also includes up-to-date and provocative information on contemporary demographic shifts around the globe. This is a must-have for anthropologists, sociologists and gerontologists interested in aging and an extremely useful volume for teaching. I plan to use it in my upcoming Anthropology of Aging course.

  • Jim Renfro
    14:20 on September 4th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Having enjoyed the real characters Sarah Lamb gave us in White Saris and Sweet Mangoes, I was looking forward to a continuation of life with the same folks in India. Her latest, Aging and The Inidan Diaspora, has a farther reach and Sarah includes all of us in considering age and aging. I have become a fan of her writing style; she utilizes full rich sentences, never run-on, usually with a plum of surprise or wisdom at the end. The surprise may be the realization that I became part of the process. Ms Lamb has the ability to make the reader a part and partner in the presentation she brings to us. She is a delightful writer, and I am sure, although I am not an Anthropologist,that she has brought a new, broader, more interesing perspective to Anthropolgy.

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