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Governmentality, Social Policy and the Social Construction of Old Age in England

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Abstract:

This article looks in more detail at the incidence and consequence of social policies for older people through the distinctly French post-structuralist lens of governmentality (Foucault, 1977). This will enable us to consider the implications of the re-figuring of the relationship between the state, older people and social work. This re-figuring constructs an ambiguous place for older people: they feature either as a resource - captured in the idea of the „active citizen‟, as affluent consumers, volunteers or providers of child care - or as a problem in the context of poverty, vulnerability and risk. In many ways, policy provides three trajectories for older people: first, as independent self-managing consumers with private means and resources; second, as people in need of some support to enable them to continue to self-manage; and third, as dependent and unable to commit to self-management. Governmentality provides the theoretical framework through which to view policy and practice that is largely governed by discourses of personalisation, safeguarding, capability and risk.

Info:

Periodical:
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 27)
Pages:
108-121
DOI:
10.18052/www.scipress.com/ILSHS.27.108
Citation:
J. L. Powell "Governmentality, Social Policy and the Social Construction of Old Age in England", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 27, pp. 108-121, 2014
Online since:
May 2014
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