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Unmasking ageThe significance of age for social research$
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Bill Bytheway

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847426185

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847426185.001.0001

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Getting real

Getting real

(p.207) Ten Getting real
Unmasking age

Bill Bytheway

Policy Press

People's age is made manifest in two very different and distinct ways: chronological age (based on one's date of birth), and signs of age evident in one's appearance (based primarily on the sight of one's bodies). Age is made real through chronological records, visual images and the biological state of the body. But age is also evident in social relations and groups and in how social divisions complicate the ways of the world. Getting real about age entails recognising that ageing is constant, complex and slow and that it does make a difference to people's lives and their relations with others. It is through sensitive and imaginative social research that society will gain a better understanding of this conundrum.

Keywords:   chronological age, signs of age, visual images, social relations, social research

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