Productive Contributors and Neo-Liberal Politics: a New Perspective of Ageing in Australia
Estelle Dryland, Xiaojiang Yu
This paper, which takes the form of a scoping study, aims to provide new interpretations of ageing in Australia, not by looking at the elderly as non-reciprocal burdens on society, a future debt for the young generation, “job lots” or a threat to the economy, but as a productive, valuable and contributing demographic. We attempt to explicate the social value of the elderly and to provide new evaluations that will encourage society to value rather than disvalue those who can claim and enjoy longevity. We explore how respective collective habits, i.e., culturally conditioned systems of dispositions and distinctions, moral principles and perceptions of propriety influence the perceptions of the younger cohort vis-à-vis the elderly, and to what degree socio-political attitudes and programs fuel stigmatization of the aged. Finally, we stress that social inclusion is vital to the ageing population’s physical and psychological wellbeing.
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