Representations of elderly in Lithuanian media
Sociology Vilnius University Vilnius, Lithuania
Relevance. Research problem. According to the ethno-linguistic vitality theory, the strength of social groups, apart from other factors, is defined by the institutional support and especially by the representation in the media. The media reflects and shapes public opinion and attitudes. How are the identities of elderly reflected and constructed in the Lithuanian media?
The objective of this research is to sketch a portrayal of elderly represented in Lithuanian media.
Data: 1106 publications of 2007 mentioning elderly people on the internet portal Delfi in Lithuanian were studied. The hits with the keywords old, elderly, pensioner, old age, ageing, old man (woman), etc were analysed. Some one third of the selected texts were from the same portal Delfi, other were extracted from regional newspapers (Klaipeda and Kauno diena), news agency ELTA and other.
Research method. The analysis was carried out using content analysis software Hamlet: establishing the frequency of the most commonly used keywords. Also, with the help of cluster analysis the contexts related to elderly people were singled out.
Research results and discussion. When describing elderly people, now more often than in the past the words old man, old woman are preferred, referring to the age of the person or the family status (those who have grandchildren) and not the words pensioner (male or female) that have a connotation of a burden to the society.
Contrary to the trends in the USA, the representation of women in the analysed material was more frequent than the men.
In the cluster text analysis dendogram the relationship between the keywords pajam* (income) and senatv* (old age) was demonstrated. The topic of pensions is dominant in the texts but it is disclosed without mentioning elderly people themselves as if pension issues are more relevant to the employed rather than pensioners. The fact that old age people were not mentioned in the publications discussing pension issues demonstrates that their role is underestimated in our society.