One: Social change and later life

This chapter provides some background information for studying the extent to which consumption is now a part of later life. The discussion begins by looking at the problem of studying later life in the context of fast social change. It then charts the rise of mass consumer society in the United Kingdom and how this has related to the ideas of ‘generational change’. It uses recent developments in theories of high, late or second modernity in order to focus properly on the key areas of social change, as well as how these relate to the experiences of older people in society. The chapter also provides an overview of the next chapters and how they reflect and relate to the main theme of consumption.

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