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De-standardising ageing? Shifting regimes of age measurement

Moreira, T.

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Departing from the proposition that, in the sociological debate about whether there has been a shift towards a de-standardised lifecourse in advanced economies, little attention has been devoted to the infrastructural arrangements that would support such a transition, this paper explores the changing role of standards in the governance of ageing societies. In it, I outline a sociological theory of age standard substitution which suggests that contradictory rationalities used in the implementation of chronological age fuelled the emergence of a critique of chronological age within the diverse strands of gerontological knowledge during the 20th century. The paper analyses how these critiques were linked to a proliferation of substitute, ‘personalised’ age standards that aimed to conjoin individuals’ unique capacities or needs to roles or services. The paper suggests that this configuration of age standards’ production, characterised by uncertainty and an opening of moral and epistemic possibilities, has been shrouded by another, more recent formation where institutional responses to decentred processes of standardisation moved research and political investment towards an emphasis on biological age measurement.


Moreira, T. (2016). De-standardising ageing? Shifting regimes of age measurement. Ageing & Society, 36(07), 1407-1433.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 3, 2015
Publication Date Aug 1, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 18, 2014
Publicly Available Date Apr 30, 2015
Journal Ageing and Society
Print ISSN 0144-686X
Electronic ISSN 1469-1779
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 07
Pages 1407-1433
Keywords Age categorisation, Age measurement, Chronological age, Gerontological knowledge, Life course institutions, Orders of worth, Standardisation.


Accepted Journal Article (512 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© Copyright Cambridge University Press 2015. This paper has been published in a revised form, subsequent to editorial input by Cambridge University Press in 'Ageing & Society' (36: 07 (2016) 1407-1433)

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