Lecture 4 (Wednesday, September 18, 2013) – Ageism & Cultural Images/Theory & Methods
Examining Knowledge About Age in Popular Culture
What is the popular imagination about old age found in these domains?
What views or attitudes about aging can be found?
What is present and absent in these representations?
Are these representations ageist?
Ageing was celebrated once you are in your mid years
Newspapers: The Globe and Mail
Newspapers resist and reinforce stereotypes
Newspapers do not represent older persons or old age unidimensionally
Two Types of Ageism
1. Intragenerational ageism = emphasizes differences between groups of older persons on various
dimensions (e.g., activity, finances, health)
Example ▯“Partying with Joplin”
Talks about seniors that are healthy and active in later life
We have this imagery of successful ageism
What this article is forgetting is that it may have something to do with her SES
Intragenerational ageism forgets social context at times
2. Intergenerational ageism = emphasizes differences between older and younger persons
Older adults are portrayed as being a burden to social society
Weigh down our healthcare system
Suggests that they are dependent and need of extra care
The assumption is that older people are contributing less to society than are younger people
Example ▯“For those who think young”
Chronological Age (Objective Age)
Reference point in quantitative analyses
Determines differences across cohorts
1 Lecture 4 (Wednesday, September 18, 2013) – Ageism & Cultural Images/Theory & Methods
Cohort = individuals born in a specific range of years
Defines entitlement to services
Helps identify a person as being a young adult, middleaged, or old, it conveys social meaning
Measurement of Subjective Age Identity (Kaufman & Elder, 2002)
Age has subjective reality
Questions from age questionnaire
Chronological age = what is your age in years lived?
Subjective age = what age do you feel?
Other age = how old do you think other people think you are?
Desired age = what age do you want to be?
Perceived old age = what age do you think the average man or woman becomes old?
Desired longevity = what age do you want to live to be?
Empirical Findings – Older Adults (Kaufman & Elder, 2002)
Average CA = 69.59 years
Subjective age = 61.89 (797)
Other age = 62.92 (6.83)
Desired age = 47.90 (21.76)
Perceived old age = 73.88 (4.52)
Desired longevity = 83.06 (13.63)
What Shapes Age Identity?
Our life experiences and individual life course trajectory
Interaction with others
Culture, society, and history
Implications of Age Images
2 Lecture 4 (Wednesday, September 18, 2013) – Ageism & Cultural Images/Theory & Methods
Internalized ageism = feelings of shame about one’s age that influence people’s thinking and behaviour
Example ▯“I have no opinions, I’m 73 years old.”
Stigma management, based on Irving Goffman’s work: everyone participates in an ongoing
Ageless self (“I don’t feel old”)
Theories on Aging
What Is Social Theory?