Active and Successful Ageing. Toward a Performativity of a Regulatory Regime

Friday, 20 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Malou WINDELER, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
“Population aging is one of humanity's greatest triumphs. It is also one of our greatest challenges.” – World Health Organization (2002)

The active and successful ageing paradigm as well as the anti-aging movement reflect the sociocultural triumphs and challenges of ageing we face today (cf. Katz, 2001/2002). However, the World Health Organization’s Active Ageing Policy (2002), the national health policies of Canada as well as the British Columbia provincial and the Vancouver metropolitan area government with their Age-friendly action plans not just reflect these developments; they also construct a ‘futurity’ for ageing and ageing populations. Therefore, it is important to understand how they construct ageing in these programs. What kind of an ageing person do they imagine? What role does the state play? To approach these questions, I use Butler and Foucault as a theoretical framework. I ask how the active ageing policies through power/knowledge of institutions and discourses construct ageing and ageing populations. I scrutinize the performativity of the policy programs. More precisely, I, first, analyze if and how the discourses around the policies mentioned shape an exclusionary and individualistic understanding of ageing. Second, I examine if the programs confirm Nicolas Rose’s (2001) thesis that the state tries to free itself of some of the responsibilities that it acquired across the 20th century for securing individuals lives or not. Third, I determine further important aspects around the construction of a futurity of ageing populations in these policies and action plans. In addition to a text analysis of the policies, I utilise interview data. I conclude with some general reflections on the constitutions of the futurity of ageing populations in modern Western countries today and challenges how to research them.