The politics of ageing in England: insights from interviews with older people

Foody, Jane Elizabeth (2012). The politics of ageing in England: insights from interviews with older people. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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England’s population is ageing. Older people’s issues have entered political agendas. Yet much remains unknown about older people’s political lives. Although older people can be unfairly treated by governments and public employees, an ‘older people’s political movement’ has not emerged. For example, some older people require publicly financed social care services to continue living in their own homes.
But as demand for social care increases, political decisions make it increasingly difficult to access these services.

This thesis seeks to explore older people’s political understandings and experiences through qualitative semi-structured one-to-one interviews. Three research locations were selected as potentially deviant socio-political contexts, where local politicians set either the lowest threshold (Calderdale) or the highest threshold (Northumberland and West Berkshire) for individuals’ eligibility to access publicly funded social care services. In the run-up to the 2010 general election, interviews were conducted with 41 people aged 51 to 90.

This research reveals some of the rich diversity and complexity of older people’s political behaviour and understandings. Some research participants demonstrate openness to learning from their socio-political context. And some people are choosing to change long-standing political behaviour. Therefore, older people’s political participation should not be taken for granted by politicians.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory


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