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From Mid-Life to Later Life: Strategies for Controlling Age Transitions Among Chileans in Metropolitan Santiago

MEERSOHN-SCHMIDT, CYNTHIA,CAROLINA (2015) From Mid-Life to Later Life: Strategies for Controlling Age Transitions Among Chileans in Metropolitan Santiago. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis investigates the ways in which transitions from mid-life to later life are envisioned. Undertaken in Santiago de Chile the study explores the following questions: How do individuals deal with stereotypes and contradictory messages about ageing? What strategies do they develop to control transitions whilst coping with ageing processes? Documentary analysis of Chilean parliamentary debates and newspaper articles, and secondary analysis of focus groups with older people were used to construct social imaginaries of ageing. These were compared and tested in a survey of 226 individuals aged 40-90 to reveal four significant tensions. These related to older people as: i) dependent or having dependants, ii) using information as a means or an end; iii) having passive or active roles, and iv) being vulnerable or resourceful in terms of their own health. These tensions were transformed into pictorial stories and used in visual elicitation interviews with 32 men and women aged 40-90 who generated stories of the ways in which they understood the possibilities and challenges presented by these four areas of tension. Findings showed that solutions to tensions i) currently express an equilibrium in generational interdependency, but they are shifting towards increasing intergenerational individualism; ii) technological literacy is becoming a requirement for social inclusion, but education still holds important value for social interactions; iii) although self and other’s ageism still represent barriers for social participation, the existing division between productive and non-productive roles in later life is becoming more flexible and pluralistic projects in later life have entered individuals’ imagination; iv) strategies to maintaining health only postpone vulnerability and loss of control over life decisions. The thesis contributes to expanding the frameworks for the study of transitions and to the design of interventions tailored for particular groups of the ageing population.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 May 2016 14:45

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