Ageism and Anti-ageism in Public Policy
2009 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
This paper analyses the anti-ageist rhetoric of a recent Swedish government investigation whose stated aim is to formulate a policy against ageism. The article discusses ageism and anti-ageism as implicated in an intricate relationship with each other from a discourse theoretical approach through an analysis of the discursive logics that operate in the text.
The goal of old age policy is, according to the proposals of the investigation, to make itself redundant through the elimination of ageism. Negative stereotypes and discrimination because of old age are thus made the basis of governmental policy on old age. The logic behind this is an understanding of older people as an artificial category because of its heterogeneity, and that age alone should not form the basis for government policy.
The report argues that old age is changing and that this is related to new generations of older people; the first teenagers. The new generation of older people are said to be constituted by an active life style that will challenge established norms and ways of living in old age.
But, counter to this dissociation from the decline narrative of ageing runs a parallel construction of older people as a category from an administrative perspective. From the logic of the administrative perspective older people, as a category, is defined by a negative deviation in relation to the generalized adulthood of the non-old.
The paper discusses the different discursive logics that are used to articulate older people as a category in the investigation, and how the logics undermine the legitimacy and validity of each other. The analysis of these logics offer an interesting and fruitful way of understanding how older people as a category is constructed in public discourse.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ageism, public policy, discourse analysis, older people
Media and Communications Social Sciences Social Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-57002DiVA: diva2:323154
Points of exit: (Un)conventional Representations of Parenthood, Ageing and Sexuality. University of Maastricht, Nederländerna, 18-19 mars 2009