You are looking at 1 - 10 of 10 items for
- Author or Editor: Richard D. Wiggins x
Targeted as the ‘grey consumer’, people retiring now participated in the creation of the post-war consumer culture. These consumers have grown older but have not stopped consuming.
Based on extensive analysis over two years, this unique book examines the engagement of older people with consumer society in Britain since the 1960s. It charts the changes in the experience of later life in the UK over the last 50 years, the rise of the ‘individualised consumer citizen’ and what this means for health and social policies.
The book will appeal to students, lecturers, researchers and policy analysts. It will provide material for teaching on undergraduate courses and postgraduate courses in sociology, social policy and social gerontology. It will also have considerable appeal to private industry engaged with older consumers as well as to voluntary and non-governmental organisations addressing ageing in Britain.
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.
This chapter takes a look at the evolution of the ‘third age’ in British society, and traces its growth as a concept and as a social and cultural space. It uses various demographic and historical data, and presents various typologies and periodisations of the ‘third age’. The discussion also studies the ways in which it is expressed and reproduced in different social contexts. Several terms such as ‘generation X’, ‘baby boomers’, and ‘sixties hippies’ are introduced.
This chapter talks about the theoretical underpinnings of the concepts of cohorts, generation, and time, while referencing the work of Mannheim and others. The analysis that is presented in this chapter is based on large, standardised surveys of expenditure patterns. It is considered to be a necessary and important first step in the understanding of how later life is formed by and contributes to the formation of consumer society.
This chapter studies the impact of the changes in household composition on consumption in later life. It also considers how many changes in the household structure have facilitated or held back the consumerist transformation of post-working life. The discussion also takes a look at the extent to which patterns of consumption in ‘pensioner-only’ households are different from those of people of pensionable age living in ‘non-pensioner’ households.
This chapter presents data that was taken from four decades of the Family Expenditure Survey on the patterns of consumption among older people in the UK from 1968 to 2003. It examines the extent to which, with increasing affluence and the growth of a consumer society, the social nature of ageing has become more differentiated. It shows that not only has the patterning of consumption and expenditure changed, but the period has also witnessed considerable changes in the patterning of inequality. The chapter also states that there is evidence to suggest that polarisation and inequality have become acute among older age groups.
This chapter uses the data from the project referenced in the previous chapter, and considers these changes in relation to the trends in inequality and their impact on consumption patterns. It reveals that one area that has been largely neglected in research on later life is that of the consumption of health and health products. However, the chapter shows that the ageing of the population has profound consequences for the healthcare industry, in terms of demand for different healthcare products, consumer behaviour and marketing strategies.
This chapter discusses the consumption of health in later life. Changes in government policy suggest that people at all ages will be expected to take on more responsibility in maintaining and protecting their own health. The chapter also stresses that the emphasis on maintaining the self is a key feature of later life in the 21st century, and that this will have an impact on different sections of the healthcare industry.
This chapter is concerned with the consequence of changes to later life health and social policy. It states that health and social policies have gone through considerable transformation since the early 1980s, which is especially true with respect to later life. The chapter then charts the major changes and challenges to policy from the post-war era up to the present. The chapter also considers the implications of the rise of the citizen consumer with regard to health and social care provision.
This concluding chapter presents an argument that the role of the UK’s ageing population in consumer society has been relatively neglected. It emphasises that the trend to earlier retirement, as well as the relative affluence of many retired people, is an important aspect of ageing in late modern societies. The cohorts of people who are now retiring are those who participated in the creation of the post-war consumer culture. Although these consumers have grown older, they have not stopped consuming. The discussion shows that their choices and behaviour are products of the collective histories of both cohort and generation.