Age war as the new class war? contemporary representations of intergenerational inequity

Pickard, S ORCID: 0000-0003-3429-8880
(2019) Age war as the new class war? contemporary representations of intergenerational inequity. Journal of Social Policy, 48 (2). pp. 369-386.

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This paper examines intergenerational justice discourses that feature prominently in both the contemporary UK media and beyond, arguing that these constitute both a continuation of previous debates about the economic and social burden of the dependent ‘fourth age’ and a newer and more prominent denigration of the ‘third age’, both of which possess deep cultural and psychological roots. Both themes are subsumed in the trope of the old as in some ways stealing the future of the nation, represented by youth. Analysing media depictions of intergenerational injustice across several themes, the paper suggests that, whilst justifying welfare retrenchment and other aspects of neoliberalism, the portrayal of social problems in terms of generational war emerges from age ideology and an age system that, among other things, intersects with and naturalises other forms of stratification. This partly accounts for the fact that the attack on the ‘third age’ is particularly prevalent in left of centre, or progressive, media on both sides of the Atlantic. That the age system has been overlooked and underplayed in sociological terms is an important oversight since the former materially and ideologically facilitates the ever-growing socio-economic inequality that is a feature of our times.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2018 09:07
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 01:31
DOI: 10.1017/S0047279418000521
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