Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Communication

Major Professor

Ellis, Carolyn, Ph.D.

Keywords

Identity, Life Course, Aging, Loss, Autoethnography

Abstract

This dissertation explores the lives of baby boomers turning sixty as they use narrative to review their past by focusing on turning points. They reflect upon their present, and anticipate their future. The story begins at the St. Pius X High School Class of 1965's fortieth reunion, and proceeds to a class sixtieth birthday celebration and focus group. In addition, five members of the class record their life stories retrospectively. This research explores issues of identity, both personal and generational; the social construction of aging; grief, loss and death; and resilience, meaning, and spirituality. Methods used are autoethnography, narrative, participant observation, and writing as inquiry.

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