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Reconstructing Old Age New Agendas in Social Theory and Practice by Professor Chris Phillipson

Reconstructing Old Age New Agendas in Social Theory and Practice


Reconstructing Old Age New Agendas in Social Theory and Practice by Professor Chris Phillipson

In this timely and authoritative overview on social gerontology and social theory, Chris Phillipson outlines the changing contexts and experiences associated with later life as we move into a new century. The book critically reviews the different theoretical explanations which attempt to explain these changes. Phillipson shows how in late modernity changes to pensions, employment and retirement, and intergenerational relations, are placing doubt on the meaning of growing old. He suggests that later life is being reconstructed as a period of potential choice on the one hand, but also of risk and danger on the other. This book will be essential reading for students and academics in social gerontology, as well as for students and academics in sociology, social policy and related disciplines interested in the future of an ageing population and the future of social gerontology.


`In this well written and neatly constructed book, Phillipson manages to put over complex ideas in accessible language and it will appeal to those studying later life at all levels.... he has offered a compelling arguement for rethinking and extending our conceptualisation of ageing populations in the light of the dramatic changes which heralded the 21st century. Chris Phillipson is internationally renowned and highly respected for his contributions to gerontology and social theory over the last two decades and this book can only add to this reputation' - Sociology Research Online

`This unpretentious paperback turns out to be winner. It tackles a wide range of issues in social gerontology, and the levelheaded tone strengthens the personal positions, which the author does not shirk declaring- and it is done well under 200 pages, including an ample bibliography....If you want a sensible discussion of dependency ratios, of old age poverty, of the gloomy future of pensions, of inter-generational economic conflict, of `disengagement' - you will find them here. There is relatively little jargon, and such as there is generally clearly defined. Thus `the construction of old age', a familiar expression which jars, comes to establish itself as meaningful and useful. Not just a book for your departmental library but ( if you plan to grow old) one to buy and read-it has about it the immediacy of the `Penguin Specials
of my youth

' - The British Journal of Psychiatry

`This book is a powerful contribution to current debates about aging and the role of social policy and to developing sociological theories of aging. Phillipson has raised a number of crucially important issues that deserve the attention of a wide readership' - European Journal of Social Work

`This is an important book. Students and academics in sociology, social policy and social gerontology will find it informative and provocative' - PSIGE Newsletter

`Grounded in careful scholarship, well written and coherently structured, it reveals consummate authority over the complex subject matter at the heart of `reconstructuring old age' - British Journal of Social Work

`The whole book is well informed and referenced. This book is obviously directed at the student of sociology but could certainly find a useful place in the broader study of gerontology. I think it would be particularly useful to people engaging on postgraduate studies for a Masters degree in gerontology. - Age and Ageing

`Practioners, service managers and older people themselves will be able to draw radical inspiration from this book. Grounded in careful scholarship, well written and coherently structured, it reveals consummate authority over the complex subject matter at the heart of 'reconstructing old age'.' - British Journal of Social Work'

About the Author

Chris Phillipson is Professor of Applied Social Studies and Social Gerontology at Keele University.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th November 1998


Professor Chris Phillipson

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SAGE Publications Ltd


176 pages


Care of the elderly



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