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Unmaking old age: Political and cognitive formats of active ageing

Lassen, A.J.; Moreira, T.

Unmaking old age: Political and cognitive formats of active ageing Thumbnail


A.J. Lassen


Active ageing is a policy tool that dominates the way the ageing society has been constituted during the last decades. The authors argue that active ageing is an attempt at unmaking the concept of old age, by engaging in the plasticity of ageing in various ways. Through a document study of the different epistemes, models and forms used in the constitution of active ageing policies, the authors show how active ageing is not one coordinated set of policy instruments, but comes in different formats. In the WHO, active ageing configures individual lifestyle in order to expand the plasticity of ageing, based on epidemiological and public health conventions. In the EU, active ageing reforms the retirement behaviour of populations in order to integrate the plasticity of ageing into the institutions, based on social gerontological and demographic conventions. These conventional arrangements are cognitive and political in the way they aim at unmaking both the structures and the expectations that has made old age and format a new ideal of the ‘good late life’. The paper examines the role of knowledge in policy and questions whether the formats of active ageing should be made to co-exist, or whether the diversity and comprehensiveness enable a local adaptation and translation of active ageing policies.


Lassen, A., & Moreira, T. (2014). Unmaking old age: Political and cognitive formats of active ageing. Journal of Aging Studies, 30, 33-46.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2014
Online Publication Date Apr 16, 2014
Publication Date Aug 1, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 19, 2014
Journal Journal of Aging Studies
Print ISSN 0890-4065
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Pages 33-46
Keywords Active ageing, WHO & EU, Conventional arrangements, Knowledge-driven policy, Structured dependency, Compression of morbidity.


Accepted Journal Article (1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Aging Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Aging Studies, 30, August 2014, 10.1016/j.jaging.2014.03.004.

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