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Critical perspectives on ageing societies$
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Miriam Bernard and Thomas Scharf

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348906

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348906.001.0001

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Critical gerontology: reflections for the 21st century

Critical gerontology: reflections for the 21st century

(p.13) Two Critical gerontology: reflections for the 21st century
Critical perspectives on ageing societies

Martha B. Holstein

Meredith Minkler

Policy Press

This chapter examines the origins of critical gerontology and mounts a challenge to the decontextualised and tacitly normative ideal of ‘successful ageing’, the presumed neutral concepts of post-modern/post-traditional ageing, and conventional notions of autonomy and empowerment. Throughout, it stresses the necessity of the particularistic lens that feminism and the humanities more broadly rely on, to reveal the hidden sources of values and the effects of these values on different groups. The discussion links this to the political economy framework that informs the understanding about structural sources of difference and highlights the significance of ‘standpoint’ in defining problems and in determining how to approach them.

Keywords:   post-traditional ageing, successful ageing, feminism, political economy, humanities

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