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SOC246H1 (20)

Soc aging class 5.odt

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Markus Schafer

Public policy and the construction of Old age in Europe • policy is a key component of an age structuration that leaves scope for active agency in the interpretation and reproduction of social reality • older epopel interact iwth their environment in a reflexive way to credate their own social relaity key role of policy in determining the changing meaning and significance of age barriers and therefore the scope for age integration Constructing and Reconstructing the meaning of old age Three distinct phases in the post war European evolution of social policy with regard to older people Old age as a social problem: 1940 – early 1970s • aging become a social problem. • National pension system were put in place and social expenditure rose • universal coverage was achieved in this period and there is no miskting the proliferation of social policy measure • 1960 01975 – increase in pension expenditure in the organization for economic ooperation and development accounted for one quarter of the rise in the share of public ependiture in total expenditure • there are multiple paths to higher pension spending • main goal of public policy in this period were to provide for income security in old age and in doing so to ensure the efficient transition of older workers from employment to retirement • the early postwar period was one of full employment; there was a committee on the employment of older men and women was formed to encourage older peopel to remin in the labor market – but there was some resistance to the assumption of declining productivity in older age • the main focus of public policy was on those who had left the labor market • this focus was determined largely by economic management and policy because this goup was in effect defined as “externalities” by the macro- economic policy systme • public pensions were regarded as an appropriate way of socializing the cost of retirement as well as assisting industry to rejuvenate the workforce • keynesian economics and beveridge style social policy: it was intended that economic growth would generate sufficient resources for universal pension provision • the establishmetn of public pension system and retirement conditions encouraged the rapid spread of fixed age retirement • in policy terms old age come to be uniquely associated with retirement age – old age was objectified as retirement age 1) • older people economic dependency enlarged substantially • two thirds of male population aged 65 and over were economic active but today it is only 7 % • the creation of a fixed age barrier in European pension system ahs led to widesspread economic dependency 2) • age barrier retirement has been the main wellspring of age discriination in employment social security and in wider social relationship • “' it has encourage the view and individual economic and social worht is diminshed 3) • the income needs of older people are lower than those of the” economically active” • public pension are set at rates below 4) • age barrier retirement and those foregoing factors have encouraged the view that older people are not just a social problem but an economic burden • occasional warning from united nations about the burden of population aging • old age dependency ratio expresses a ratio between those over pension age and younger audlts • therefore economic dependency associated with aging 5) • health and social service policy and practice was the first phase that saw tha major xpansion of these services and their professionalization • policy marker have come to regard older people as largely dependent and passive objects • some form of education and training encourage professionals to regard themselves as experts operating autonomously • this expansion of health and social service had two sides : 1) it enhanced the welfare of older people but it was delivered often in ways that reinforced their dependency and powerlessnesss • the professionalization of old age in health and social service are an importatnt component o age segregation Old age as the solution to one economic problem and the cause of another: Mid 1970s and late 1980s • a transition phase • social meaning of aging was reconstructed along two dimensions 1) • there was a massive fall in economic activity in later life throughout th eu • decline in activity is most marked among theose aged 65 and over and those aged 60 to 64 but is also clear in the age group 55 to 59 • In most EU countries working after teh age of 65 has been eradicated • position of older women is harder to disentangle from the cohort effect of rising rate of participation among younger women • main factor – the collapse of employment in the mid 1970s and early 1980s • Sheffield steel industry - two distinct paths 1) there were those who faced with redundancy, chose early retirement as a preferable option to unemployment 2) there were those hwo were effectively coerced into it by a hostile labour market - early retirement was for the first group a welcome released from employment and for the second group a refuge from a inhospital labor market • the key explanatory factors in this social division were age and income level • demanded- related factors were the main causes of the rise of early retirement and one of these main factors was public policy • during this period there was a proliferation of employment and pension measures designed to encourage early retirement – include the job release scheme in the UK and preretirement benefits in denmark and germany • during this transition phase the growth of early retirement has recontructed old age from a simple age-related status with a single lower point into a much broader category that stretches from age 50 to death • this has necessitated the widespread functional separation of the third (50 to 74) and fourth ( 75+) ages, the yong and old and old old a distinction that first appeared in France in 1960s • it also shown that pu
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