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This important book brings together some of the best known international scholars working within a critical gerontology perspective. Together, they review and update our understanding of how the field has developed over the last twenty-five years and, through the lens of ‘passionate scholarship’, provide a challenging assessment of the complex practical and ethical issues facing older people, and those who conduct research on ageing, in the 21st century.

The contributions extend the critical gerontological approach conceptually, methodologically and practically. They offer close and scholarly analysis of policies affecting the lives of older people and provide insights into why research is done in particular ways. Special attention is paid to feminist contributions and new approaches to working in partnership with older people; age discrimination and ageism; the impact of neo-liberal policies and the passage of various human rights instruments; the re-medicalisation of later life; the participation of older people in research; and justice between generations. The editors and contributors offer suggestions for promoting change, and an exciting set of visions and perspectives for the renewal and development of critical gerontology in the years ahead.

“Critical Perspectives on Ageing Societies” will be a valuable resource for all students, academics and practitioners interested in ageing and the life course.

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This chapter has two broad aims. First, it seeks to summarise a growing, international body of gerontological knowledge relating to the theme of social exclusion as it affects ageing adults. Second, it presents a range of evidence concerning different forms of exclusion experienced by older people in Ireland, identifying possible trends in such disadvantage over the course of the recession and austerity programme. In a concluding section, the chapter reflects on the accumulated evidence to consider the ways in which ageing policy has developed in Ireland under the influence of the economic downturn, outlining potential implications for tackling exclusion in later life. Extending the lens beyond Ireland, the chapter offers an alternative view to that which currently dominates policy and media debates on ageing in a number of countries, one that identifies older people as being a relatively homogeneous group that has emerged from the period of austerity largely unscathed.

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Over time, the gap between those older people who are better off and those who live in poverty has continued to widen. Poverty in later life has not been accorded the same status as child poverty in recent years. While forcefully expressed by organisations such as Help the Aged, Age Concern and the National Pensioners’ Convention, equivalent arguments for tackling older people’s poverty have not had the same political impact as child poverty. The chapter provides a critical perspective on issues of unequal incomes and poverty in later life. It highlights major issues of difference within older populations, characterised by such factors as age, gender, ethnicity, social class, health status and place of residence. The remaining part of the chapter presents some potential strategies for dealing with poverty in later life.

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A Global Challenge

Evidence of widening inequalities in later life raises concerns about the ways in which older adults might experience forms of social exclusion. Such concerns are evident in all societies as they seek to come to terms with the unprecedented ageing of their populations. Taking a broad international perspective, this highly topical book casts light on patterns and processes that either place groups of older adults at risk of exclusion or are conducive to their inclusion.

Leading international experts challenge traditional understandings of exclusion in relation to ageing in From Exclusion to Inclusion in Old Age. They also present new evidence of the interplay between social institutions, policy processes, personal resources and the contexts within which ageing individuals live to show how this shapes inclusion or exclusion in later life. Dealing with topics such as globalisation, age discrimination and human rights, intergenerational relationships, poverty, and migration, the book is essential reading for anyone interested in ageing issues.

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In a concluding chapter, Norah Keating and Thomas Scharf synthesise the key arguments raised by contributing authors to the book. They also identify a number of cross-cutting issues that merit closer reflection by researchers. In a forward-looking piece, the authors highlight a number of challenges that lie ahead in relation to the risks of exclusion faced by ageing adults around the world. Responding to such challenges, with the goal of promoting greater inclusion in later life, should represent a goal for policy makers, practitioners and the research community.

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This chapter discusses the concept of social exclusion as a way to explore the issues around disadvantage faced by older people in rural communities. By focusing on social exclusion, the varied and often hidden nature of disadvantage that is experienced by older rural residents in many Western societies emerges. The discussion also uses findings from a qualitative study to examine the accounts of individuals on exclusion and explore the lifecourse influences on exclusion and assess the impacts of exclusion on quality of life. The chapter ends by explaining the distinctive features of rural older people’s social exclusion and suggests some ways in which rural policy might service to reduce such exclusion.

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It is an interest in ageing with explicit critical gerontological focus that provides a unique set of understandings about ageing and later life in the 21st century. This chapter describes critical perspectives on ageing societies. Close scholarly analysis of policies affecting the lives of older people offer challenges to gerontologists and ageing individuals. In addition to the life course orientation, other themes thread their way throughout this book. This chapter notes three particular themes and sets of commitments that stand out in all these explorations. First, all the contributors in the book are committed to illuminating and extending the critical gerontological approach conceptually, methodologically and practically. Second, they are all committed to the importance of research and to the full and proper involvement and participation of older people. Third, they demonstrate an engagement with the ‘passionate scholarship’ which, at heart, aims to bring about change.

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This book brings together international scholars working within a critical gerontology perspective. Chapters review and update our understanding of how the field has developed over the last twenty-five years and, through the lens of ‘passionate scholarship’, provide a challenging assessment of the complex practical and ethical issues facing older people, and those who conduct research on ageing, in the 21st century. The chapters extend the critical gerontological approach conceptually, methodologically and practically. They offer close and scholarly analysis of policies affecting the lives of older people and provide insights into why research is done in particular ways. Special attention is paid to feminist contributions and new approaches to working in partnership with older people; age discrimination and ageism; the impact of neo-liberal policies and the passage of various human rights instruments; the re-medicalisation of later life; the participation of older people in research; and justice between generations. The book offers suggestions for promoting change, and an exciting set of visions and perspectives for the renewal and development of critical gerontology in the years ahead.

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This book brings together international scholars working within a critical gerontology perspective. Chapters review and update our understanding of how the field has developed over the last twenty-five years and, through the lens of ‘passionate scholarship’, provide a challenging assessment of the complex practical and ethical issues facing older people, and those who conduct research on ageing, in the 21st century. The chapters extend the critical gerontological approach conceptually, methodologically and practically. They offer close and scholarly analysis of policies affecting the lives of older people and provide insights into why research is done in particular ways. Special attention is paid to feminist contributions and new approaches to working in partnership with older people; age discrimination and ageism; the impact of neo-liberal policies and the passage of various human rights instruments; the re-medicalisation of later life; the participation of older people in research; and justice between generations. The book offers suggestions for promoting change, and an exciting set of visions and perspectives for the renewal and development of critical gerontology in the years ahead.

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This book brings together international scholars working within a critical gerontology perspective. Chapters review and update our understanding of how the field has developed over the last twenty-five years and, through the lens of ‘passionate scholarship’, provide a challenging assessment of the complex practical and ethical issues facing older people, and those who conduct research on ageing, in the 21st century. The chapters extend the critical gerontological approach conceptually, methodologically and practically. They offer close and scholarly analysis of policies affecting the lives of older people and provide insights into why research is done in particular ways. Special attention is paid to feminist contributions and new approaches to working in partnership with older people; age discrimination and ageism; the impact of neo-liberal policies and the passage of various human rights instruments; the re-medicalisation of later life; the participation of older people in research; and justice between generations. The book offers suggestions for promoting change, and an exciting set of visions and perspectives for the renewal and development of critical gerontology in the years ahead.

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