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Narratives about/on the body in older age


Cook, P, Narratives about/on the body in older age, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics European Region Congress, 23-25 May, Gothenburg, Sweden (2019) [Conference Extract]

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The omnipresence of the body illustrates its centrality to everyday human life. As the body is always present, it is a central aspect of human identity and a focal point of individual recognition in our ocular-centric society. In addition, positive and successful ageing discourses posit the body as central to how ageing should be experienced, using the youthful body as a measuring point. That is, a ‘positive’ and ‘successful’ body is associated with a youthful appearance that exhibits beauty and health. This, however, marginalises diverse experiences of ageing. Drawing on empirical research using participant generated photography with interviews, I explore older adult’s narrations of their ageing body. Using a phenomenological approach, the participant stories reveal diverse experiences of the embodied ageing process, including the influences of social structures such as gender and medical interventions on their experiences of their age. As such, gendered ideas about the body, as well as their understandings of ‘successful ageing’, influence how these older adults experience and talk about their ‘ageing body’. This reveals the impacts of wider social forces on the ageing process, as well as how ageism affects older adults’ experiences and understandings of their body as they age.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:ageing, older adults, older people, embodiment, body
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Ageing and older people
UTAS Author:Cook, P (Dr Peta Cook)
ID Code:134768
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2019-09-04
Last Modified:2019-09-04

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