With the aspiration for a long life now achievable for many individuals, the status of old age as a distinct social position has become problematic. In this radical re-examination of the nature of old age, Paul Higgs and Chris Gilleard reveal the emergence of a 'fourth age' that embodies the most feared and marginalised aspects of old age, conceptually linked to and yet distinct from traditional models of old age.
Inspired by the authors' ground-breaking work on the third and fourth age and supported by extensive sociological, medical and historical research, Rethinking Old Age offers a unique and timely analysis of the fourth age as a 'social imaginary' that is shaped and maintained by the social, cultural and political discourses and practices that divide later life. It stands as a significant resource for students, academics and practitioners of Sociology, Ageing Studies, Gerontology, Social Policy, Health Studies, Social Work and Nursing.
Paul Higgs is Professor of Sociology of the Ageing in the Division of Psychiatry at University College London, UK, and Chris Gilleard is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Division of Psychiatry at University College London, UK. Both are internationally recognised social theorists of ageing and old age whose previous books include Cultures of Ageing (2000), Contexts of Ageing (2005) and Ageing, Corporeality and Embodiment (2013).
1. The Idea of a Fourth Age.- 2. The Shadow of Long-term Care.- 3. Demographic and Epidemiological Aspects of the Fourth Age.- 4. Frailty and the Fourth Age.- 5. Abjection and the Fourth Age.- 6. Care and the Moral Identity of the Fourth Age.- 7. Bridges and Barriers between the Third and the Fourth Age.- 8. Fashioning a Future for Fourth Age Studies.