The physical changes associated with old age are generally described as decay and deterioration, in comparison with the "normal" young and healthy body, although ageing is a continuous process throughout life. This projects looks at the significance of ageing in relation to perceptions of the body and health, and how interpretations of ageing are influenced by cultural beliefs and values.
Åsa Alftberg, Division of Ethnology
Susanne Lundin, Division of Ethnology
Dissertation year: 2012
Department: Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences
People in the welfare society are living longer and longer. Nevertheless, the general image of ageing is often negative. Ageing is associated with illness, loneliness and dependence on others. Being identified as old can feel alien. It is not the person’s own perception, but rather something that is attributed to the individual by others.
In a historical perspective, ageing has been associated with the ability to support oneself. Those who could not work and support themselves any longer were seen as old. Still today, the view of age is linked to perceptions of what is required of a functioning member of society, but the ability to work is now less significant.
This thesis focuses on how elderly people experience and describe ageing, the body and health in relation to everyday activities. How do they deal with the physical changes that take place and how do these affect everyday life? Are there differences between men and women? The study focuses on men and women from the age of 80 and the research method is primarily interviews, but also participant observations.
Content manager: Åsa Alftberg
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Last modified 12 Feb 2010