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From passive to active consumption in Britain

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.

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consumption in the formation of social identities, but much of the research in this area has focused on younger age groups. It is unsustainable to assume that older people, simply by virtue of being old, are somehow immune to, or excluded from, the dynamics of consumer society. In fact, as we have tried to argue in this book, the cohorts of people retiring today are bound up in those processes that led to the growth of a post-war consumer culture. Their generational habitus developed with the emergence of youth-orientated consumer markets that were purposefully

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A good place to grow old?

This important book addresses a growing international interest in ‘age-friendly’ communities. It examines the conflicting stereotypes of rural communities as either idyllic and supportive or isolated and bereft of services. Providing detailed information on the characteristics of rural communities, contributors ask the question, ‘good places for whom’?

The book extends our understanding of the intersections of rural people and places across the adult lifecourse. Taking a critical human ecology perspective, authors trace lifecourse changes in community and voluntary engagement and in the availability of social support. They illustrate diversity among older adults in social inclusion and in the types of services that are essential to their well being. For the first time, detailed information is provided on characteristics of rural communities that make them supportive to different groups of older adults. Comparisons between the UK and North America highlight similarities in how landscapes create rural identities, and fundamental differences in how climate, distance and rural culture shape the everyday lives of older adults.

"Rural ageing" is a valuable resource for students, academics and practitioners interested in communities, rural settings and ageing and the lifecourse. Rich in national profiles and grounded in the narratives of older adults, it provides theoretical, empirical and practical examples of growing old in rural communities never before presented.

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A humanist approach to ageing

How can we understand older people as real human beings, value their wisdom, and appreciate that their norms and purposes both matter in themselves and are affected by those of others?

Using a life-course approach, “Valuing older people" argues that the complexity and potential creativity of later life demand a humanistic vision of older people and ageing. It acknowledges the diversity of experiences of older age and presents a range of contexts and methodologies through which they can be understood. Ageing is a process of creating meaning carried out by older people, and is significant for those around them. This book, therefore, considers the impact of social norms and political and economic structures on older people’s capacities to age in creative ways. What real obstacles are there to older people’s construction of meaningful lives? What is being achieved when they feel they are ageing well?

This collection, aimed at students, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, offers a lively and constructive response to contemporary challenges involving ageing and how to understand it.

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. Finally, the concluding chapter argues that the role of the UK’s ageing population in consumer society has been relatively neglected. 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 retiring now are those who participated in the creation of the post-war consumer culture. These consumers have grown older but have not stopped consuming; their choices and behaviour are products of the collective histories of both cohort and generation. People

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commentators are aware (Dychtwald, 1999; Freedman, 1999; Metz and Underwood, 2005), the cohorts of people retiring today are those who pioneered the creation of the post-war consumer culture. The decades of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of new, youth-orientated consumer markets directed at cohort located sub-cultures. While the absolute numbers of people making up the ‘baby-boomer’ or ‘baby-bulge’ cohorts was certainly important, this was not the main reason for their significance. Young people during this period had money and they also had an

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