Is Old Age Stigma?
English title: Is Old Age Stigma?
Author(s): Gražina Rapolienė -
Type: Conference paper/poster
„What means to be old? What is ageing identity in Lithuania?“ – questions raised in recently defended dissertation, based on analysis of media texts (N=1106), qualitative interviews with elderly (N=24) and ESS Round 4 data. The ageing identity both in Lithuanian public discourse and by older people themselves is associated with chronological age and constructed negatively, relating ageing to the loss of social status, social roles (except family) and value, also to the health decline. The dominant ageing identity theories and the concept of reflexive self of A.Giddens poorly explain the old age identity in today's Lithuania. More suitable for this purpose is E.Goffman‘s stigma concept. Old age in Lithuania is stigma: verbal praise of older people, high assessment of their morals and polite declaration of respect conceals intolerance, disregard and discrimination on the behavioral level. In everyday interactions old age stigmatization is manifested by denial of old age, by marginalizing behavioral norms, direct and indirect age discrimination, institutionalized in private and public structures. The old age stigmatization and discrimination in Lithuania is stronger than in advanced European countries, and its level is close to other postcommunist and in Mediterranean countries.
Conference name: Crisis, Critique and Change
Location: Turin, Italy
Start date: Aug 28, 2013