Chapter

Representations of age

Bill Bytheway

in Unmasking age

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426185
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304128 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847426185.003.0004
Representations of age

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In considering how age figures in the world around us, it is important to recognise that words and images are there to guide one's thinking. They underpin models of age because they create structured understandings of the characteristics of older people. There is a full and complex vocabulary of age terms in the English language. This chapter contrasts how ‘old’, ‘older’ and ‘elderly’ are used as adjectives, which leads to an examination of how historical trends in vocabulary use reflect changes in state policy and ageist prejudice. As for visual images, captions and accompanying text not only consolidate visual images of what people of different ages look like, they can also create expectations of what it is to be a person of a particular age.

Keywords: age; words; images; English language; state policy; ageism; vocabulary; old; older; elderly

Chapter.  5788 words. 

Subjects: Gerontology and Ageing

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