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Social class in later lifePower, identity and lifestyle$
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Marvin Formosa and Paul Higgs

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447300588

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447300588.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) One Introduction
Source:
Social class in later life
Author(s):

Marvin Formosa

Paul Higgs

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447300588.003.0001

Social class is a critical factor influencing how people experience later life, and, in particular, the quality of lives they lead. Nevertheless, the sociology of class is firmly located in, and around, the younger and adult ‘territories’ of the life course. Although lip-service is frequently paid to ‘age’ as one of a number of bases of stratification, older people remain excluded from sociological studies of class. When necessary, the class position of older persons is commonly located through their final occupations before retirement. Whilst this strategy may have been valid in the past when most individuals died either before or soon after statutory retirement age, nowadays it is surely limiting to assume that the class career terminates with the onset of retirement, considering that the latter normally signals the start a phase of life characterised by increasing levels of leisure participation and identity reframing. There is no doubt that the expansion of critical gerontology to encompass globalisation, the de-institutionalisation of the life course, and the emergence of a consumer-driven are all highly welcome. Yet, the significance of class in retirement is still a topic that needs addressing.

Keywords:   social class, third age, critical gerontology, retirement, inequality

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