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Systemic and Reflexive: Foundations of Cumulative Dis/Advantage and Life-Course Processes

Systemic and Reflexive: Foundations of Cumulative Dis/Advantage and Life-Course Processes Cumulative dis/advantage has been defined as the systemic tendency for interindividual divergence in a given characteristic to increase with the passage of time. Over recent decades, evidence supporting cumulative dis/advantage (CDA) as a cohort-based process that produces inequalities on a range of life-course outcomes has steadily increased. This paper reviews this growing body of work, grounding the discussion in CDA’s foundation as a general sociological construct with broad relevance. I emphasize the distinction between outcome and process, and then distinguish multiple levels of social analysis at which CDA operates. From this review, I extract two principles, endogenous system dynamics and life-course reflexivity, that can be cross-classified to provide a framework for analyzing contemporary research frameworks and initiatives relevant to CDA. I argue that the full sociological impact and implications of CDA research has been unevenly developed and applied, and conclude by suggesting some possible directions for further building on CDA’s insights. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences Oxford University Press

Systemic and Reflexive: Foundations of Cumulative Dis/Advantage and Life-Course Processes

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References (137)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
ISSN
1079-5014
eISSN
1758-5368
DOI
10.1093/geronb/gby118
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Cumulative dis/advantage has been defined as the systemic tendency for interindividual divergence in a given characteristic to increase with the passage of time. Over recent decades, evidence supporting cumulative dis/advantage (CDA) as a cohort-based process that produces inequalities on a range of life-course outcomes has steadily increased. This paper reviews this growing body of work, grounding the discussion in CDA’s foundation as a general sociological construct with broad relevance. I emphasize the distinction between outcome and process, and then distinguish multiple levels of social analysis at which CDA operates. From this review, I extract two principles, endogenous system dynamics and life-course reflexivity, that can be cross-classified to provide a framework for analyzing contemporary research frameworks and initiatives relevant to CDA. I argue that the full sociological impact and implications of CDA research has been unevenly developed and applied, and conclude by suggesting some possible directions for further building on CDA’s insights.

Journal

The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social SciencesOxford University Press

Published: Jun 2, 2020

Keywords: Cohort; Cumulative Advantage; Cumulative Dis/Advantage; Inequality; Life Course; Theory

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