This article is based on the analysis of 259 titles of articles selected from four American sociological journals (the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, the American Sociological Review and Social Problems), over a period of 60 years (1940–2000). These titles contain key words such as age(s), generation(s), life cycle and life course, as well as a group of words that identify the purpose of each specific article. The lexical analysis of the data gathered in this way allows us to observe how various orientations, themes and objects of research are encoded in the titles. Comparing how each of these terms is used shows the way in which sociological reasoning has integrated different perspectives on individual and social temporalities. We have established that each of the four different perspectives considered refers to an exclusive lexical repertoire, to themes of differentiated research that belong to a specific historical period.