The Mature Imagination and Consumption Strategies

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Simon Biggs
Chris Phillipson
Rebecca Leach
Anne-Marie Money

Abstract

Baby boomers have been credited with an essentially ’youthful’ approach to themselves, to consumption and to life-style. As they enter midlife and older age they are also faced with the challenges of a mature identity. This paper critically examines the strategies that baby boomers in the United Kingdom use to manage identity as they grow older. Specifically, questions concerning attitudes to cohort labels, personal ageing and other generations are compared to the consumption choices that are made in areas considered to be key to an ageing identity, including: appearance, clothing and bodily maintenance. Boomers identify with succeeding rather than preceding generations. While they claim not to be concerned with bodily ageing as such, their strategies are aimed at maintaining a balance between youthful and mature identities. Priority was given to blurring the boundaries between themselves and younger adult generations. The implications for the relationship between adult ageing and patterns of consumption are explored.

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