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Description - Being an Older Woman by Isabella Paoletti

The study presented in this volume examines how older women's identities are socially constructed and, in particular, how they can be influenced by institutional intervention. The interest in identity production is not only theoretical, but also practical. In fact, different perceptions of oneself as an older woman involve considerable differences in the definition of the person's possible sphere of action, and therefore, in their life perspectives. The data - collected during a four-year period studying older women - consists of video recordings of the commmittee meetings of the Older Women's Group of Perugia, Italy. Other video recordings of theatre workshops and of the management committee meetings of the Senior Citizen Centres in Perugia are used as a source of comparison. Transcripts of the video material are analyzed through a detailed discourse analysis within an ethnomethodological framework, referring in particular to the concept of social production of identity. The study explores how gender and age identities are interactionally constructed in specific institutional contexts. The first part of the book focuses on the interactional construction of ageing. It shows how "being old" is constructed conversationally, in particular through the use of membership categories. Distancing from the category "old" and denial of ageing are frequently encountered conversational moves. However, the category is perceived as acceptable, even desired and invoked when it beomes an institutionally relevant category, giving access to interesting activities or special benefits. The second part of the book explores gender identification. Conflict among different institutional subjects are shown to be fading into gender conflict. The study analyzes how institutional interventions exert a powerful influence on older women's identities, giving them new opportunities for action. It also looks at how the conversational styles, attitudes and activities of idiosyncratic women influence the features of those very institutions. In short, this book describes the discourse and social practices that constitute older women's identities - helping to identify and deconstruct stereotypes that tend to produce marginalization of older people.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780805821208
ISBN-10: 0805821201
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 9mm)
Pages: 108
Imprint: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
Publish Date: 12-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United States

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