Aging and the Indian Diaspora

Aging and the Indian Diaspora

Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad
Sarah Lamb
Distribution: World
Publication date: 6/17/2009
ISBN: 978-0-253-00360-7
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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.

Author Bio

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).


"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

"Lamb has produced a very easy to read, engaging, and good book. . . . [She] is able to capture a good deal about the culture of, and family relationships in, Bengali middle class families." —
Contemporary Sociology

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Table of Contents

Note on Translation and Transliteration
1. Introduction: The Remaking of Aging
2. The Production of Tradition, Modernity, and a New Middle Class
3. The Rise of Old Age Homes in India
4. Becoming an Elder-Abode Member
5. Tea and the Forest: Making a Western Institution Indian
6. Living Alone as a Way of Life
7. Moving Abroad
8. Changing Families and the State