television and the aging process

How to study the report of the elderly population to the television asks Vincent Caradec in his article from 2003, “The television, analyzer of aging” in the journal Networks ?

There are two possibilities open to the researcher : the first, non-retaining by Caradec is to consider the age group of “older people” and analyzing the ways in which television is watched by this age group.

Another perspective, which is retained lpar ‘author, is the study of the relation to television in a diachronic perspective, that is to say, to grasp it as a process indicative of aging. It is about making the television as a means of obtaining a better knowledge of the aging process, as we would have been able to analyze the feeding practices and / or language to have a better knowledge of the process of integration into society of migrants. So let’s see what the television reveals the process of aging.

Increase the duration of listening

The quantitative surveys show that the duration of television viewing increases at the time of retirement. This increased viewing is the result of a ” reorganization time “, which operates during the retreat : the new retirees begin new activities, abandon or modify those that they were before. Pensioners preparing a new rhythm to fill the time freed up by the discontinuation of the professional activity. In this reorganization, the position of the tv increases : for example, by a ” slight dilation of time that was previously devoted to television “: on a little earlier in the evening and then off a little later. Other trends among retirees, the recent increase in the multiéquipement, with the purchase of a second post to avoid dissension in the choice of the program, or the evolution of the equipment with the purchase of a vcr or a dvd player.

Diversity of practices of listening

However, it should not be assumed that the transition to retirement standardizes the cultural practices of the pensioners, and in particular the practices of television. The times of listening are highly variable, depending in particular on the social position and the speeches made on television by the retirees are also contrasting.

Vincent Caradec differentiates those who want to minimize the fact that they watch a bit more television since the retirement and insist on their desire not too much to look at, while others readily acknowledge that television has become their hobby of choice. The first, which are sure not too look at are rather proponents of a model of the “activist” of the pension according to the terms of the author. “Watch the tv appears to their eyes as a” passive “, a distraction to be valid for very old people and invalids, but which cannot be suitable for young retirees “active”. “Unlike retirees, those who increase their practice of tv without feeling guilty see retirement as a right to rest after a life dedicated to the work.

Television and abandonment

For Vincent Caradec, who is a specialist in the sociology of aging, the old age is characterized by a tendency to the “disengagement” vis-à-vis activities carried out previously, it can be studied in several ways : we can examine the gradual abandonment of the use of the car or report to the television.

Of course, you will have understood, the author that we are concerned with in this post, has rather chosen as a route of entry the second option. In fact, he noted that the television audience during the retirement years present a remarkable evolution : an expansion of the listening, until around four-twenty-five years, followed by a reduction of the practice on television. This evolution can be analysed as the result of two processes of abandonment of agricultural land: “on the one hand, a decline compared to the outdoor activities, which is conducive to listening to more of the tv, on the other hand, a decline compared to the tv itself. “

So, it is necessary to twist the neck to the representation according to which, the very old would be riveted to his tv set. Is emerging to the contrary to the higher age groups in a reverse movement, of a decline in television viewing, because of the increased fatigue and some sensory disabilities “, which led him to choose with care the few moments that it is possible to devote to it. “

The television is part of the construction of the self

The interest for the television of the people interviewed for Vincent Caradec is based on three major arguments. Because the media are a means of “informing” and ” stay in power “, they hold a ” social link “. They allow the elderly person to maintain a link with the world.

The television may be to some, “a way of development and enrichment of self : it is a distant extension of the school – with which the comparison is sometimes explicit – that gives the opportunity to” learn “, “learn” and “discover” “. The show Questions for a champion is a way to check his knowledge.

Finally, the tv can watch “shows” (variety shows, sports competitions, game shows, fiction, documentaries, political broadcasts, etc), and then talk about it with his relatives, and his friends.

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