Reclaimed Powers: Men and Women in Later Life

A unique feature of human development is that mothers and fathers are bound to a long period of child-rearing, during which the continuity of our species depends on the fulfilment of distinct parental roles and on the suppression of psychological potentials that conflict with those roles. But once the parental emergency is over, the author argues, men and women can assert those parts of their personalities curbed by the restrictions of raising children. It is this shift in roles - a product of evolution found throughout our species - that led David Gutmann to propose a new psychology of ageing, based not on the threat of loss but on the promise of important new pleasures and capacities. Gutmann draws on his own anthropological and psychological research to demonstrate this passage into normal androgyny in traditional societies as well as our own. By showing the ways in which these personal transformations benefit the larger culture and humanity as a whole, he enlarges our understanding of the powerful possibilities of the third age. This first paperback edition includes a new preface and an afterword in which Gutmann describes additional findings and revisions in his thinking since the original publication.