CNSC members Daniel Blanche-T. and Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol coauthored the article titled “(Non-)Politicized Ageism: Exploring the Multiple Identities of Older Activists” recently published in the open-access journal Societies.
In this article, the authors interviewed activists in Iaioflautas, an older adults-led social movement, to examine issues of identity building, arrangements, and salience and the role “ageism” plays in these processes. They find that belonging to the movement contributes, on the one hand, to challenge ageist stereotypes against older people and, on the other, to distinguish themselves from these stereotypical images of the older. Thus, the non-problematization and -politicization of ageism perpetuates the demeaning cultural constructions of older adulthood.
This article is part of the journal’s special issue, “Ageing as a Unique Experience: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ageing and Later Life from Social and Humanities Perspectives.” In addition, it received funding from the Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) project.
The increase in ageing populations has spurred predictions on the growth of a politically powerful old-age bloc. While their protest mobilizations have risen to reach youth standards, there is scarce scholarly evidence of the role of multiple identities in older activists’ involvement. We address this gap by interviewing activists in Iaioflautas, an older adults’ social movement emerging from the heat of the protest cycles in Spain in 2011. In-depth interviews with 15 members of varying levels of involvement revealed the paramount role of the movement in the identity construction of its participants. Iaioflautas endows a strong sense of collective identity based on intergenerational solidarity and enables to counter the culturally devalued identity of older adults and retirees. Whereas perceptions of widespread ageist stereotypes against older adults abound in this group, they omit to view the movement through an old-age identity politics lens. Furthermore, they reproduce ageist attitudes against age peers refraining from active involvement. This paradox suggests that the non-politicization of ageism restrains the development of a collective identity based on old age. We highlight how an increase in ageing populations might advance this issue in future research.