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Managing Old Age: The Disciplinary Web of Power, Surveillance and Normalization

Abstract

Health and welfare have emerged as key vehicles used to legitimize and position the identities that older people adopt in contemporary western societies. Both health and welfare contain specific yet continually changing technologies that function to mediate relations between older people and the state. Medico-technical and care management discourses have been presented as adding choice and reducing limitations associated with adult aging. However, they also represent an increase in professional control that can be exerted on lifestyles in older age and thus, the wider social meanings associated with that part of the lifecourse. This article presents a theoretical analysis based on a critical reading of the work of Michel Foucault; identifies the interrelationship between managers and older people in terms of power, surveillance and normalization; and highlights how and why older people remain the subjects of legitimizing professional gazes.

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Powell, J., Biggs, S. Managing Old Age: The Disciplinary Web of Power, Surveillance and Normalization. Journal of Aging and Identity 5, 3–13 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009541314124

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009541314124

  • power
  • surveillance
  • normalization
  • managerialism
  • old age