Theorising ageing and the question of a long life: eye openings

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Simon Biggs

Abstract

A life course perspective, drawing on historical and personal experiences, is used to identify eye-opening concepts that can be used to make sense of the world in terms of personal and social ageing, in the context of intergenerational relationships. Two issues have been identified that characterise a challenge to cultural adaptation: that of generations increasingly becoming approximately the same size as they move from demographic triangles to columns, and that of finding an age-specific purpose for a long life. An analysis of contemporary problems facing gerontology and social policy is given, drawing on the need for complementary life priorities and enhanced generational intelligence. Implications for work, generational rivalry and precarity are examined along with some conclusions on the role of eyeopening conceptual development.

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