Researching ageing bodies in the home : a Foucauldian analysis

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Abstract

The structure of the United Kingdom population is changing with the percentage of people aged 65 and over increasing from 15% in 1985 to 17% in 2010 (Office of National Statistics 2012). During this time older people have been encouraged to remain living in their own homes (National Consultative Ethics Committee for Health and Life Sciences 1998). There is a large body of evidence regarding the home but there is a dearth of research which uses critical social theory. This research examined whether older people resist or conform to dominant circulating discourses regarding the aged body in the home. Narrative accounts were generated from a sample of 12 older people on two separate occasions on a one-to-one basis. The data was transcribed verbatim and condensed via a thematic analysis followed by a discourse analysis using Foucault’s ideas. The discourse of the body highlighted how changes associated with ageing were viewed as a problem threatening self-sufficiency creating a vulnerable subject position. Self-surveillance was used to judge what they could and could not manage safely and accompanied by self-discipline so that the body was challenged to do in order to maintain fitness and health. The discourse of the body exemplifies how the ageing body is spoken about from a cultural perspective, in negative terms, and how this construction of embodied ageing permeates the narratives of older people.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2016
EventFoucault at 90 - International Conference - Ayr
Duration: 22 Jun 2016 → …

Conference

ConferenceFoucault at 90 - International Conference
Period22/06/16 → …

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