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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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Ageing and class in a globalised world

Ageing and class in a globalised world

(p.33) Three Ageing and class in a globalised world
Social class in later life

Chris Phillipson

Policy Press

It could be argued that discussions about the role of social class in the lives of older people have occupied a tenuous position in social research into ageing. This might seem a surprising statement given the concerns of many researchers with issues focused around financial resources, inequality and social exclusion. Despite the importance of such themes, the tendency has been to examine these only loosely through the lens of social class, with researchers often preferring to emphasise individual characteristics or life histories, other major social statuses (for example gender and ethnicity), or general features associated with the social organisation of age. Social class has in consequence been somewhat marginal to the range of concepts deployed to understand the lives of older people. This chapter develops a number of arguments as to why this might be the case. In addition, it considers whether it tells us anything of wider significance about the way social gerontology has developed. Would a fuller appreciation of social class add anything to our understanding of later life?

Keywords:   social class, globalisation, pensions, inequality, third age

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