This chapter investigates the representation of aging in social gerontology textbooks used in undergraduate courses in the UK and the US across a longitudinal span of just over 20 years. The rise of social gerontology has entailed a paradigm shift from a stereotypical view of aging as decay to one where alternative conceptualizations of aging are possible. While the earlier manuals still retained a focus on bio-physical aspects of aging even while advocating greater attention for psychosocial aspects, in the more recent ones the notion of successful aging – consisting essentially in the relentless (as well as largely unattainable) pursuit of an old age free of physical and cognitive impairments – takes centrestage. In these manuals, economic considerations and policy matters appear to be prevalent, suggesting a progressive encroaching of neoliberal attitudes on other disciplinary domains, including the strictly medical one, and more specifically with reference to a successful aging paradigm which conceives of individuals as largely responsible for their own fate, with the attendant risk that “unsuccessful aging” be depicted as a personal flaw. Among the more significant linguistic features of contemporary social gerontology discourse is a reluctance to engage with notions of decline and frailty, resulting in the discursive marginalization of that portion of the ageing population who have no claims to success because of poor health.

Evolving Discursive Constructions pf Aging in Social Gerontology Textbooks. A Preliminary Investigation / P. Catenaccio - In: Seniors, Foreign Caregivers, Families, Institutions : Linguistic and Multidisciplinary Perspectives / [a cura di] B.H. Davis; A. Vicentini; K, Grego. - Milano : Mimesis International, 2022. - ISBN 9788869773716. - pp. 239-264

Evolving Discursive Constructions pf Aging in Social Gerontology Textbooks. A Preliminary Investigation

P. Catenaccio
2022

Abstract

This chapter investigates the representation of aging in social gerontology textbooks used in undergraduate courses in the UK and the US across a longitudinal span of just over 20 years. The rise of social gerontology has entailed a paradigm shift from a stereotypical view of aging as decay to one where alternative conceptualizations of aging are possible. While the earlier manuals still retained a focus on bio-physical aspects of aging even while advocating greater attention for psychosocial aspects, in the more recent ones the notion of successful aging – consisting essentially in the relentless (as well as largely unattainable) pursuit of an old age free of physical and cognitive impairments – takes centrestage. In these manuals, economic considerations and policy matters appear to be prevalent, suggesting a progressive encroaching of neoliberal attitudes on other disciplinary domains, including the strictly medical one, and more specifically with reference to a successful aging paradigm which conceives of individuals as largely responsible for their own fate, with the attendant risk that “unsuccessful aging” be depicted as a personal flaw. Among the more significant linguistic features of contemporary social gerontology discourse is a reluctance to engage with notions of decline and frailty, resulting in the discursive marginalization of that portion of the ageing population who have no claims to success because of poor health.
social gerontology; discursive representation; institutional discourse; discourse analysis; conceptualizations of aging
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/935480
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