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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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Using human rights to defeat ageism: dealing with policy-induced ‘structured dependency’1

Using human rights to defeat ageism: dealing with policy-induced ‘structured dependency’1

Chapter:
(p.27) Three Using human rights to defeat ageism: dealing with policy-induced ‘structured dependency’1
Source:
Critical perspectives on ageing societies
Author(s):

Peter Townsend

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781861348906.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the evolution of social policy and its corresponding institutions and makes a powerful plea for human rights-based approaches to addressing ageism and the structured dependency still experienced by many older people around the world. It argues that by the late 20th century, older people were perceived and treated, according to accumulating research evidence, as more dependent than they really were or needed to be, and that this had been fostered by the emerging institutions of retirement, income maintenance and residential and domiciliary care. Forms of discrimination against older people had become, or continued to be, as deep as forms of discrimination against women and minority ethnic groups. The discussion argues that human rights-based approaches offer a framework of rigorous analysis and a sound basis for anti-discriminatory work.

Keywords:   social policy, ageism, older people, domiciliary care, retirement, discrimination

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