views updated May 23 2018

age-sets, age-grades Broad age-bands which define the social status, permitted roles, and activities of those belonging to them. Transitions from one age-grade to the next are often major collectively organized social events with rites of passage marking the change of social status and role. The term can be applied in the modern industrial context, however it is more commonly used in reference to pre-industrial societies, which may superimpose an age-grade system of stratification (dividing members into youths, maidens, elders, and so forth) on the organizing tribal, lineage, or clan structure.