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The (in)visibility of older people in the international development discourse

The (in)visibility of older people in the international development discourse
The (in)visibility of older people in the international development discourse
Older people are the world’s fastest growing population group. By 2050 eighty per cent of older persons will live in what are now developing countries. There is established and growing evidence of the difficulties families in developing countries are experiencing in providing adequate support for their older members. This thesis explores how international development is responding to the interests of older people. The research examines how older people are represented in international development discourse and illustrates the impact of this on practice. This is informed by a comparative analysis with the progress of women in development.

A critical discourse analysis of a corpus of texts from intergovernmental agencies illustrates the degree of visibility of older people in the development discourse. A case study of the work of inter-government organisations in West Bengal, India, shows how this can impact on grassroots activity. An original conceptual framework is introduced which aligns the dominant development paradigms with the dominant perspectives on older people emerging from this research.

To the best of my knowledge this is the first research study to consider the (in)visibility of older people in international development discourse and to look at its implications on policy and practice. It highlights that a concentration of development resources at one end of the age spectrum to increase life expectancy is being met with an absence of planned support to meet the consequences when people successfully reach old age. The research further shows that when visible, older people are generally viewed as a homogeneous group in need of support and care, and not as citizens able to contribute and participate in development.

The research illustrates a connection between global discourse and local practice in relation to older people and indicates a need for further studies to assess the extent of the links and to examine how local practice could inform the international development discourse.
Lipman, Valerie
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Lipman, Valerie
f9812f09-1c14-4a00-bb9e-e7b033c44952
Evandrou, Maria
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Falkingham, Jane
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Schroder-Butterfill, Elisabeth
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Lipman, Valerie (2011) The (in)visibility of older people in the international development discourse. University of Southampton, Gerontology, Doctoral Thesis, 391pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Older people are the world’s fastest growing population group. By 2050 eighty per cent of older persons will live in what are now developing countries. There is established and growing evidence of the difficulties families in developing countries are experiencing in providing adequate support for their older members. This thesis explores how international development is responding to the interests of older people. The research examines how older people are represented in international development discourse and illustrates the impact of this on practice. This is informed by a comparative analysis with the progress of women in development.

A critical discourse analysis of a corpus of texts from intergovernmental agencies illustrates the degree of visibility of older people in the development discourse. A case study of the work of inter-government organisations in West Bengal, India, shows how this can impact on grassroots activity. An original conceptual framework is introduced which aligns the dominant development paradigms with the dominant perspectives on older people emerging from this research.

To the best of my knowledge this is the first research study to consider the (in)visibility of older people in international development discourse and to look at its implications on policy and practice. It highlights that a concentration of development resources at one end of the age spectrum to increase life expectancy is being met with an absence of planned support to meet the consequences when people successfully reach old age. The research further shows that when visible, older people are generally viewed as a homogeneous group in need of support and care, and not as citizens able to contribute and participate in development.

The research illustrates a connection between global discourse and local practice in relation to older people and indicates a need for further studies to assess the extent of the links and to examine how local practice could inform the international development discourse.

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More information

Published date: March 2011
Organisations: University of Southampton, Gerontology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 346635
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/346635
PURE UUID: 2cac9241-c574-4433-9db1-7e4449709c7a
ORCID for Maria Evandrou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2115-9358
ORCID for Jane Falkingham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7135-5875

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Feb 2013 11:31
Last modified: 27 Jan 2020 13:41

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Contributors

Author: Valerie Lipman
Thesis advisor: Maria Evandrou ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Jane Falkingham ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Elisabeth Schroder-Butterfill

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