Ageing, corporeality and embodiment by Chris Gilleard, Paul Higgs

By Chris Gilleard, Paul Higgs

This publication investigates the emergence of a 'new getting older' and its realisation throughout the physique. The paintings explores new kinds of embodiment occupied with id and care of the self, that have noticeable the physique turn into a domain for getting old another way - for getting old with no turning into old.

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Extra resources for Ageing, corporeality and embodiment

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Conclusion The 1960s witnessed a major cultural break in the moral ordering of Western societies, disembedding the relationships that modernity had institutionalised between the body, culture and society. The new sociologies of the body that emerged in response to these changes have continued to deconstruct many of the essentialist assumptions about the body and its role in determining social relationships and social power. Alongside mainstream sociology, gender, race, sexuality and disability studies have all emphasised the multiplicity of ways in which bodies shape and are shaped by culture and society, revealing some of the human contingencies that have shaped historically specific bodies and their freedoms and unfreedoms in society.

We want to focus on the body not as some kind of ‘asocial’ corporeality out-trumping the capacity of culture, society and the economy to determine human lives, but as itself, an always-emerging site for embodiment from which new ageing lifestyles can be fashioned. Three developments seem central to us in understanding the changing role of the body and its significance for the new ageing. The first has been the emergence of a politics of identity, concerned with issues of ‘embodied difference’ as well as the social and personal concerns that have accompanied this; second, has been the somatic turn that postwar mass consumer society has helped shape and support; and third has been the influence of a generational consciousness framed by the 1960s generational schism which has incorporated and retained the cultural turn within its lifestyles and has thereby changed societal expectations about ageing.

With the coming of modernity from the seventeenth century onwards, the conflict between the preservation of youth and health and the acceptance of age and disease was temporarily suspended, or at least moved from centre stage. As the state sought to judge its health and wealth by the number of its citizens, it began counting and classifying its population. Chronological age emerged as a new source of social stratification and a means of regulating the life course of its citizens (Bois 1988; Gutton 1988).

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