Expressions of Generativity and Civic Engagement in a ‘Learning in Retirement' Group

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Abstract

This study describes the dynamics of generative expressivity in a group of 20 well-educated members of a local “learning in retirement' community. Using qualitative methods to analyze interview data, a wide variety of generative activities were identified, conditions defining and giving rise to them described, and meanings explored. The predictable influence of the motive of generativity would suggest that “valued life activities” will include those that yield some benefit for future generations as well as oneself. While there was considerable evidence in this group of generative activity patterns consistent with civic engagement, questions were raised about the continuing investment in such activities where personal benefits and a clear sense of agency were not in evidence. Some gender differences were also identified, but they were not as great as might be found in other samples.

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