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16 ESA Social Theory Conference, Innsbruck, September 11-13, 2008

Tine Buffel

Brussels, Belgium

Local social networks and the elderly: Theoretical perspectives

The paper focuses on the relationship between social networks and the connection with a territory or place from a theoretical perspective. The main aim is to examine how these issues are addressed and studied from an elderly person’s perspective. Firstly, we show that the increased popularity of questions concerning the relationship between social capital and the neighbourhood has not seen similar increased interest in life-span or gerontological issues in community

built environment), the psychological (placy identity) and the social dimension. In the last category, the neighbourhood is considered as a social space and a starting point for participation and social interaction. We show that in most of the network-theoretical research approaches focusing on the social dimension, personal neighbouring networks are studied as help and support systems. The focus is then on the characteristics of the social network (notably size and composition) and which aspects of help and support are beneficial to the

well-being of elderly people.

these

network-analytical

To conclude, approaches

we contrast

with

other

theoretical community

perspectives, as real,

criticizing th demonstrable,

e

study of countable

research. belonging

Although, community attachment and appear to be important aspects of the

experience of growing old. Second, the paper offers a review of a broad range of literature examining the interaction between elderly people and their immediate living environment. We demonstrate that the majority of the gerontological research into the person- environment relationship can be divided into 3 categories, respectively focusing on the physical (the

relationships that are important when using resources. In the discussion we argue that it could be fruitful to look for transversal connections between the broader establishment of theories concerning social capital, community and neighbourhood and gerontological perspectives.

Nilgun Celebi

Ankara, Turkey

Is "Socius" better than "Society"?

The aim of my paper is to introduce concept of "socius" instead of "society" as very subject matter of sociology. As long as I am concerned in sociology we need a new conception the one which will cover all human gatherings in any time and space to come over the diversification not only in sociology but almost in all social sciences. Now, each branch of sociology tries to examine a single piece of social reality thinking that its main source is the modern society or the civic aspect of nation-state. Actual society is seen as main laboratory by other social sciences also. Even many historians see classical and medieval times as a prelude for main (final?) stage of social evolution. However, we know very well that society is a time-space bound conception.

It belongs to modern times. Its birth place is western Europe and its birth date is close to birth date of nation- states. I think a science should have more solid, durable soils to stand on. Concept such as "social system" is not enough since it has boundary problems even if it doesn't call closed systems into minds. "Social structure " would be better one but it couldn't introduce any satisfactory premise for both social and collective personalities. Although very tentatively, I reckon that

"socius" subject

may be matter

better than these

of

sociology.

It

conceptions as

means

"human

gatherness". are sociable.

Its main premise is this: Human beings I think if we use "socius" as umbrella

conception for all human gatherings then we smoother roads to reach from one science to from one branch of sociology to another.

do find another

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