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Ageing, Corporeality and Embodiment

Chris Gilleard and Paul Higgs

Ageing, Corporeality and Embodiment

Investigates the emergence of a ‘new ageing’ and its realisation through the body by exploring new forms of embodiment concerned with identity and care of the self, which have seen the body become a site for ageing differently – for ageing without growing

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781783083374
November 2014 | 228 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6
PRICE:  £25.00  /  $40.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

‘Gilleard and Higgs challenge conventional thinking about aging bodies in exciting ways, especially the dated notion that aging is a time of “structured dependency,” or the fading belief that the “third age” is one where agency and effort are paramount to success. The authors expertly weave together theoretical writings, empirical research, and cultural analysis in the rapidly emerging field of the sociology of the body with classic and contemporary writings in gerontology. […] Highly recommended.’ —D. S. Carr, ‘Choice’

‘The stubborn, insistent fact of bodily ageing requires that we bring age into the sociology of the body and, likewise, bring the body into ageing studies. Arguing for this mutual enrichment, Gilleard and Higgs review historical and theoretical developments on both sides and analyse key practices of the “new ageing”’. —David J. Ekerdt, Professor of Sociology and Director, Gerontology Center, University of Kansas

‘Chris Gilleard and Paul Higgs are two of our foremost theorists of age. Their work has helped transform how we understand later life. In this fascinating and insightful book, they address the key issue in ageing: embodiment, its meaning and significance. The text is set to become a classic.’ —Julia Twigg, Professor of Social Policy and Sociology, University of Kent

‘Ageing, Corporeality and Embodiment’ argues that both ageing as a unitary social process and agedness as a distinct social location have become fragmented. The book concentrates  on the emergence of a ‘new ageing’ mediated in part through the processes of ‘embodiment’.

The first section provides the main theoretical context for the book, with the first chapter outlining the new ‘sociology of the body’ and the second outlining the emergence of new ageing and its ‘re-orientation’ toward the body. The second section explores the relationship between new ageing and key aspects of embodied identity, namely gender, race, disability and sexuality. In each of these sections, the authors provide a brief historical perspective on the emergence of these embodied identities as social movements during the cultural ferment of the 1960s, and explore their subsequent confrontation, or avoidance of confrontation with, the issue of ageing.

The third section covers embodied practices, from sexual practice and its re-orientation toward age and ageing, to the embodied practices of ‘appearance management’, particularly those associated with cosmetics, clothing and fashion. Finally, the book considers ‘new enhancement technologies’ of the body, such as plastic surgery, with relation to ideas of ‘rejuvenation’. By focusing upon those embodied practices that are oriented toward age and ageing, and their place in expressing, maintaining or recreating other ‘pre-performed’ identities, the work allows a more embodied understanding of ageing and its diverse engagements within society to be realised.

Readership: This book will be useful to undergraduates in sociology, social sciences and cultural studies and to postgraduate students in cultural studies, gerontology, the sociology of health and illness and disability studies.

Author Information

Chris Gilleard is a visiting research fellow at University College London.

Paul Higgs is professor of the sociology of ageing at University College London.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Chapter 1: Identity, Embodiment and the Somatic Turn in the Social Sciences; Chapter 2: Corporeality, Embodiment and the ‘New Ageing’; Chapter 3: Gender, Ageing and Embodiment; Chapter 4: Age and the Racialised Body; Chapter 5: Disability, Ageing and Identity; Chapter 6: Sexuality, Ageing and Identity; Chapter 7: Sex and Ageing; Chapter 8: Cosmetics, Clothing and Fashionable Ageing; Chapter 9: Fitness, Exercise and the Ageing Body; Chapter 10: Ageing and Aspirational Medicine; Conclusions: Ageing, Forever Embodied; References; Index

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