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Old age identity in social welfare practice
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Dep. of Behavioural Science and Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Research Platform of Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Living Conditions and Care of Older People. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Ageing - living conditions and health.
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Dep. of Behavioural Science and Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Research Platform of Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Living Conditions and Care of Older People.
2011 (English)In: Qualitative Social Work, ISSN 1473-3250, E-ISSN 1741-3117, Vol. 10, no 3, 346-363 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The main objective of this study was to examine the process of old age identity construction within a setting of social welfare work with old people. We sought to identify social welfare practices that construct and enforce certain old age identities. The empirical material analysed in this article is part of a study of a non-governmental organization in Poland. The method of analysis was inspired by nexus analysis, which analyses social actions through a historical and ethnographic perspective. The analysis focused on practices that produced, sustained and promoted particular old age identity. The results of this study show a complex process in which welfare professionals create the identities of preferred clients. The study shows that social welfare practice is often oriented toward imagined client identities that have little to do with real people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 10, no 3, 346-363 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-15981DOI: 10.1177/1473325011409477OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-15981DiVA: diva2:439137
Available from: 2011-09-06 Created: 2011-09-06 Last updated: 2012-07-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spaces of (non)ageing: A discoursive study of inequalities we live by
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spaces of (non)ageing: A discoursive study of inequalities we live by
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation examines processes and practices that make certain social categories real in people’s lives. One of these categories is old age and old people. In contemporary societies that are inundated by images of youth, old age is under attack. Old age does not fit into the contemporary framework of idealised lifestyle and images of perfect people. Thus, the main question addressed in this dissertation concerns spaces of ageing, which are societal arenas in which people are expected and/or allowed to become old.

This study investigates discourses of old age within the context of welfare. It describes actions, statements and attitudes related to old age within the context of the welfare state. This study is based on multiple data that include 121 opinion weekly news magazines articles, social policy observations, and two case studies of a non-governmental and a user-organisation. The method of analysis comprises two approaches to discourse: discourse analysis and analysis of discourses. The study adopts a perspective that highlights the contextual, emotional and unstable character of welfare states that undergo constant processes of change. It notes the process of people production based on instilling in them norms and principles that should govern their lives.

The findings of the study illustrate the lack of spaces of ageing in the welfare state context. People are expected not to grow old, and old age remains a misunderstood phenomenon. Therefore, spaces of (non)ageing are invoked to elaborate on these processes. Spaces of (non)ageing  occur in various societal domains and show what is required to avoid becoming old. Spaces of (non)ageing frame the idea of old age as something terrifying and, in many cases, immoral.

The findings of this study are discussed in relation to the processes and practices of inequality (re)production. The complexity and multiperspectivity of understanding such phenomena are taken into consideration. The study invites a perspective of ‘us’ from which to examine social inequalities, and ‘we’ who think and feel at the same time.  

This dissertation is written from a perspective of knowledge, which is always plural, changing and fluid. Therefore, the results are discussed in terms of the production of some knowledges about the researched phenomenon but not as an exhaustive study. The final sections of the dissertation are devoted to a cross-study discussion of new ways of interpreting and describing the research material presented in four sub-studies. This discussion does not aim at obtaining better or more correct results; instead, it aims at presenting a different aspect of these results. It acknowledges different spatial and temporal locations and the ways in which these locations affect the production of knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: School of Health Sciences, 2012. 214 p.
Series
Hälsohögskolans avhandlingsserie, ISSN 1654-3602 ; 24
Keyword
inequalities, discourse, welfare culture, old age
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-17036 (URN)978-91-85835-23-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-01-19, Forum Humanum, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-01-10 Created: 2012-01-09 Last updated: 2012-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Wilinska, MonikaHenning, Cecilia

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