Life cycle or life course

Christopher King (
Sun, 27 Nov 1994 10:09:00 GMT

I am trying to work out a definitive distinction between the two terms
life-course and life-cycle. From my own perspective I make a distinction
along the lines that the term life-course recognizes the agency of
individuals in negotiating aspects of life stages whereas life-cycle has
some semblance to its biological analog in that it seems to present a
structured series of roles as preceding the individual.

I wonder if anyone could point me to a specific discussion of the
difference between the term. Most social gerontological literature seems
to deal with the terms unproblematically or even interchangeably.