Ageing populations represent a key global challenge for the twenty-first century. Few areas of life will remain untouched by the accompanying changes to cultural, economic and social life. This book interrogates various understandings of ageing, and provides a critical assessment of attitudes and responses to the development of ageing societies, placing these in the context of a variety of historical and sociological debates. Written in a highly accessible style, this book examines a range of topics, including demographic change across high- and low-income countries, theories of social ageing, changing definitions of 'age', retirement trends, family and intergenerational relations, poverty and inequality, and health and social care in later life. The book also considers the key steps necessary in preparing for the social transformation which population ageing will bring. Ageing provides a fresh and original approach to a topic of central concern to students and scholars working in sociology, social policy and wider social science disciplines and the humanities.
Acknowledgements vii 1 Introduction: Understanding Ageing 1 Part I Demographic and Social Dimensions of Ageing 9 2 Ageing Societies in a Global Perspective 11 3 Social Theories of Ageing 29 4 The Development of Ideas about Age and Ageing 53 5 The Social Construction of Ageing 70 Part II Inequalities and Divisions in Later Life 87 6 Ageing and Pensions: The Social Construction of Inequality 89 7 Families and Generational Change in Ageing Societies 109 8 'Late' Old Age 127 Part III New Pathways for Later Life 143 9 Preparing for Ageing Populations: Rebuilding Institutions 145 10 Conclusion: New Pathways for Later Life 166 Notes 178 References 181 Index 206