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A postmodern approach to structured dependency theory

Wilson, Gail (1997) A postmodern approach to structured dependency theory. Journal of Social Policy, 26 (3). pp. 341-350. ISSN 1469-7823

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Abstract

Structured dependency theory has been useful in shifting thinking about status in old age from a negative concentration on individual characteristics to an emphasis on the structural factors which work against elderly people. However, structural dependency theory is itself capable of reinforcing ageist policy and practice. Postmodernism, as an approach to knowledge, moves us on from the premodern when the church was the ultimate authority, through the modern when scientific logic was the touchstone, to the present when there is no ultimate authority for the way the world is perceived. The revolutionary threat to ‘scientific’ research and received wisdom is greatest for the white, middle-class, mid-life, male academic establishment but offers wide possibilities to those who wish to research new fields in new ways. A postmodern approach to ageing research suggests that it would be helpful to concentrate on four themes: the critique of ‘grand theory’; the prioritisation of ‘low’ culture and understanding, as opposed to elite or ‘high’ culture; the recognition of diversity; and the value of personal views and emotions. Since postmodern thought excludes structural relations of power it is unlikely to be used in isolation by gerontologists or social policy analysts.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://uk.cambridge.org/journals/jsp
Additional Information: Published 1997 © Cambridge University Press. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright © and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (http://eprints.lse.ac.uk) of the LSE Research Online website.
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2006
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/309/

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