The multi-faceted meaning bound with the concept of elder among the Sinhalese


Sri Lanka is unique in ageing experience both demographically and culturally. This research on Sinhalese old age is based on new paradigm anthropological assumption of a ‘human actor’ constructs the culture. The main objective is to capture the multi-faceted meaning bound with the concept elder. Twenty in-depth interviews clarified the meaning behind traits attributed to old age derived through the cultural domain analysis (n=100) followed by the techniques of free listing and pile sorting. Field work was carried out in Maharagama and Balangoda divisional secretariat divisions of Sri Lanka. Traits of elderly vary on the basis of age, gender, social class and living sector. Analysis proposed six not mutually exclusive elder types namely, Predominantly religious, Family centered, Socially integrated, Socially disintegrated, Disengaged sick and Life style oriented.


Key words: Old, Elderly, Aging, Sinhalese, Culture.

Akeleaya Thinguri