9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Political Aspects of Ageing Building II, C5.08

A policy of violence?- a reflection on ageing policy, on the example of Poland and Sweden

The increasing body of research accentuates the role of public policies in defining and determining the lives of people. Likewise, ageing policies are found to be one of the essential elements that may put certain constrains on actions and identities of people who grow old. The rising question concerns then, the main objective of such polices. Who needs ageing policy and why? The aim of this article is to seek an answer to those two questions by examining the case of Polish and Swedish responses to an ageing policy. The study is embedded in the discourse theories, which recognize a discourse as a system of social practices and relations that have an immediate reflection in the way people act, think and identify themselves. Discourse of ageing is an example of such system, that encompasses a range of practices and relations apparent within various spheres of societal life. Ageing policy documents are considered to be one of the fundamental practices that belong to this discourse. Concurrently, this investigation is based on the analysis of the focal policy documents, in both countries, regarding the vision of ageing policy. The analysis of those texts is conducted in accordance with the key principles of a motive analysis. This method facilitates an inquiry into five domains, that constitute the core in understanding reasons underlying any activity, namely, actor, act, agency, scene and purpose. The results of an analysis are discussed in reference to the concept of objective violence that underpins our political and economic systems. This type of "hidden" violence is found to sustain relations of dominance and exploitation. A number of apparent instances of objective violence against people, who grow old, are identified. The consequences of that are discussed in terms of a future shape of social policies and the lives of people who are affected by it.