the Sociology of old age and the ageing process

Sociology of old age and aging. A book of Vincent Caradec (Armand Colin, coll. “128 “, 2008)

“Old age is it that a word ?” would have been able to ask Pierre Bourdieu1. Old age is, indeed, difficult to define, as overlap or oppose a series of words, all sources of issues : older people, old people, third age, fourth age, seniors, retirees, senior citizens, etc, It is not simple to determine the threshold of entry into the period of life commonly referred to as old age. It is precisely there that in the common sense, the rub, or that there are material ” prénotions “, as would have been written Durkheim [2],. If the statistical category of “older people” sets the threshold at 60 years of age, many customers would refuse such a classification. A single certainty for a start, the old age has undergone a profound transformation. Now, she is a mother to all, although with deep inequalities, a normal stage of existence. The social security systems associated with the medical advances have enabled an increase in the duration of retirement. While in 1950 a man retired at 65 could expect to live a dozen years, today life expectancy at age 60 is more than twenty years for men and twenty five for women. This simple observation has, however, implications far more complex level of social identity, integration, social behaviors of these new categories of the population. Parallel to this development, the sociological look has changed. The increasing share of the elderly population and its designation as a target of public policies, as early as the 1960s with the report Laroque, in particular, have drawn attention to this group, raising the contributions of sociologists and the implementation of programs of study. Sociological theory has also pluralized, class is no longer seen as omniscient and all-embracing. The work was more focused on the experiences of individual ageing. Thus, we no longer speak of old age as a state but as a process.

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