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Seductive Solutions, Inspiration, Easy-to-Remember Phrases, and Ambiguity: Why Is the Idea of Active Ageing so Successful?

Hasmanová Marhánková, Jaroslava (2017): Seductive Solutions, Inspiration, Easy-to-Remember Phrases, and Ambiguity: Why Is the Idea of Active Ageing so Successful? Published in: Czech-Polish-Slovak Studies in Andragogy and Social Gerontology , Vol. 7, (November 2017): pp. 7-25.

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Abstract

The idea of active ageing has become one of the most influential perspectives in modern gerontology, social work, and social policy. This paper discusses factors that helped to establish active ageing as a successful theoretical concept that has significantly influenced contemporary social representations of ageing and has a practical impact on social work and policy. The perspective of the philosophy of social science is employed to explain what makes the idea of active ageing so attractive despite the remaining confusions concerning what “activity” and “ageing actively” means. The paper aims to answer the following question: What makes the concept of active ageing so successful? It draws upon the work of Murray Davis (1986) and her insight into the key aspects that make sociological theory “seductive.” The paper analyzes in what ways the concept of active ageing fulfills the specific features that, according to Davis, determine the success of social theories. Simultaneously, the paper critically evaluates the ways the idea of active ageing is translated into ageing policy. The case of Czech Republic is used to illustrate the problematic aspect of active ageing policies as well as the specific rhetoric that makes the idea of active ageing so attractive for a broad spectrum of disciplines as well as for social policy.

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