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Continuity and change in older age: Identity and ageing-as-discovery


Cook, P, Continuity and change in older age: Identity and ageing-as-discovery, The Annual Conference of The Australian Sociological Association, 27-30 November 2017, Perth, Australia (2017) [Conference Extract]

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Traditionally, sociology has framed older age as a time of disengagement, withdrawal, and reduced social integration. While now largely dismissed in contemporary sociological understandings of ageing, it is notable that narratives of decline still feature heavily across numerous social, media, and medical discourses. This negativity, however, could be at odds with how older adults experience their ageing and age identity. Using a social constructionist approach, in this presentation I will explore how older adults narrate their self-identity. To achieve this, I will draw on participant-generated photography and interview data, the latter which was subjected to dialogic/ performative narrative analysis, to reveal how the participants frame older age as a time of continuity, discovery, possibility, and change. This reveals that their age identities emerge through the links that the participants create between the past, present, and the future. Thus, while ageing is not without its potential difficulties, the research participants challenge the social myths that reductively and negatively frame older age by constructing an identity that builds on their past through an active exploration and negotiation of new possibilities and experiences.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:ageing; older people; identity; phenomenology; visual research methods; photography
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Cook, P (Dr Peta Cook)
ID Code:123639
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-01-16
Last Modified:2018-03-27

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