Chris Gilleard

Chris Gilleard
University College London | UCL · Psychiatry

Ph.D.

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249
Publications
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5,229
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Publications

Publications (249)
Article
The concept of ageism as oppression has become an important point of reference in contemporary gerontology. Apart from its giving substance to the negative experiences impacting on older people, the idea of ageism as oppression is used in many different contexts, with different meanings. In this paper we argue that the positioning of ageism as oppr...
Article
This paper explores Freud’s later life and the extent to which Freud internalized a subject position as aged. Drawing upon Sartre and de Beauvoir’s idea of the unrealizability of death and old age, I argue that throughout his adult life while Freud confronted desires, experiences and fears that were previously unacceptable and even unthinkable, inc...
Article
Purpose The aim of the study is to demonstrate evidence that societal ageing and poor economic growth are linked in the advanced economies. It challenges the claim however that secular stagnation represents a serious problem for future prosperity. Design/methodology/approach This paper critically reviews recent formulations of the secular stagnati...
Article
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This paper examines the role of the body in the social and psychological study of ageing. Drawing upon the phenomenological tradition, it argues that the body occupies a halfway house between materiality and subjectivity, unsettling those social psychological and biological frameworks by which age and ageing are traditionally understood. While offe...
Article
This paper presents a critique and proposes a reformulation of the concept of subjective age. It questions the nature of ‘subjectivity’ used in framing the concept and the consequent failure to distinguish between ‘subjectivity’ and ‘self-identity’. I argue that age is not easily framed as a phenomenal (for-me) experience and that it is at least qu...
Article
Ending Midlife Bias: New Values for Old Age, by Nancy Jecker, addresses what she sees as Western society's overvaluing of autonomy and undervaluing of dignity, a bias that she sees as particularly unsuited to old age. While she makes a strong case, two main problems challenge her approach. First, she characterizes later life by the diseases and dis...
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This paper is concerned with the nature of suffering and its judged intractability and unbearability, with relevance to debates about assisted dying and the place of age in this wider debate. Framed by the idea that thoughts about death, and the experience of suffering become more common in later life, the paper addresses the assessment of sufferin...
Article
This article addresses the topic of ageism through the lens provided by Simone de Beauvoir concerning the subjective “unrealizability” of age. In her book, Old Age, she adopted the terminology of existentialism to argue that old age was one of the “unrealizables”: phenomena that can be grasped only through their “otherness.” Old age, in her view, c...
Article
Aging has been given short shrift as a topic in philosophy. The aim of this paper is to redress this neglect by revisiting some of the key philosophical issues in Simone de Beauvoir’s book, Old Age. In her notion of old age’s unrealizability, its impossibility of fully embodying a subject position, and the role played by the other in denying such s...
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This paper is concerned with the issue of ageism and its salience in current debates about the COVID-19 pandemic. In it, we address the question of how best to interpret the impact that the pandemic has had on the older population. While many feel angry at what they see as discriminatory lock-down practices confining older people to their homes, ot...
Article
Age has become an increasingly contested form of division within contemporary society, with some writers suggesting age has become ‘the new class’ while others point to increasing ‘ageism’ in society. In exploring such competing claims, this paper examines the basis for considering age as a social class, category or group. Drawing upon Bourdieu's w...
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This paper explores the concept of the completed life outlined in recent writing in the Netherlands on euthanasia and assisted suicide and its implications for ageing studies. Central to this theme is the basic right of people to self-determine the length of their later life, linked with the subsidiary right to assistance in achieving such self-det...
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This paper considers the significance for ageing studies of Erikson’s theory of adult development, particularly his last stage the crisis of ‘integrity’ versus ‘despair’. Because his model assumes a clear pattern of lifelong upward development, culminating with the ‘achievement’ of integrity and wisdom, it can be seen as helping underpin gerontolog...
Article
Purpose This study aims to explore whether trends in the pattern of income inequality over the past 40 years apply equally to working and retirement age households in the UK, and if so, why this might be so. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on data from the Office of National Statistics, various indices of income inequality have been calculated...
Article
This paper outlines the case for applying Bourdieu's writing on ‘forms of capital’ to the explication of the social divisions of later life. Much of the writing about class in later life pivots on the distinction between working and non-working life. Broadening the focus towards a more Bourdieusian conceptualisation of forms of capital offers a gre...
Chapter
In the concluding chapter of the book, we summarise some of the main issues concerning social divisions and social differences in later life. First we stress the transformation of later life in second modernity, from its categorisation as a residuum, a role-less role, a residuum of a life once lived to a richer and more diverse set of social locati...
Chapter
This chapter highlights the importance of bodily impairment and infirmity in creating social divisions in later life. It begins with a consideration of what constitutes disability and impairment. It examines such distinctions and divisions in the light of the social model of disability and the distinction between ageing with disability and ageing i...
Chapter
This chapter begins by considering the distinction between sex and gender. The latter constitutes the source of the social division between men and women considered as social beings. It serves as both a reflection of division and inequality and a source of difference and identity. The chapter then explores the framing of this division in terms of p...
Chapter
This chapter begins with a consideration of models and theories concerning social class. It focuses upon the distinctions between relational and gradational models of class. It then explores how these different models seem to be articulated in later life and the model of cumulative advantage and disadvantage employed in much social gerontology. Fol...
Chapter
This chapter begins with a consideration of the differences between ethnicity and race, and the relative salience of these divisions in Europe and North America. In considering race, the legacy of slavery continues to exercise its effects on black-white divisions throughout the life course. The chapter considers two perspectives on this division in...
Book
This book is concerned with the social differences, divisions and diversity of later life. We argue that later life is no longer the marginalised category it once was. Instead, it is characterised by growing differences and divisions, including the divisions associated with class, gender, ethnicity and disability (infirmity). Many of these divides...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the question of intersectionality and the positioning of older people at points in a complex set of locations structured and leant upon by multiple sources of difference and inequality. It argues that social locations are no longer organised through simple binary divisions underpinned by single hierarchies of power and influe...
Chapter
This chapter draws the distinction between social divisions that reflect structural patterns of inequality and social differences that express social identity and the articulation of communities of interest. It then goes on to consider some of the distinct features of such divisions and differences that help define the social locations of later lif...
Chapter
Change in the social nature of later life is exhibited through a wide range of institutions and across a wide range of settings. This change is not confined to any particular group, nor to any particular place or setting. The increasingly networked societies of the twenty first century facilitate the movement of goods, information, services and peo...
Article
In recent years, several authors have drawn attention to signs of growing inequalities in the ageing populations of the developed economies. Such formulations have employed the concept of precariousness to suggest that a ‘new’ precarity has emerged in old age. Questioning this position and drawing on data reported over the last two decades on incom...
Article
The development of social gerontology has led to the emergence of its own terminology and conceptual armoury. ‘Ageism’ has been a key concept in articulating the mission of gerontology and was deliberately intended to act as an equivalent to the concepts of racism and sexism. As a term, it has established itself as a lodestone for thinking about th...
Article
Rejuvenative or antiaging medicine is concerned with reversing the aging process through medical means. It is a form of aspirational medicine, promising more than it has delivered. In contrast to regenerative medicine it resides on the periphery of mainstream medicine. Even if viewed merely as a symptom of an increasingly somatic society, these pro...
Conference Paper
L P Hartley could have easily written that ageing, rather than the past, is a foreign country. Despite on-going demographic change ageing continues to be a foreign land both within and between countries. As population ageing becomes an increasingly global phenomenon it is crucial that we move away from Western-centric models of ageing. We need a be...
Article
The American poet and novelist May Sarton has often been cited for her sympathetic portrayal of old age. In this paper I explore the depictions she gives of old age and her journey through ageing in her journals. These are set in the context of her ‘official’ biography. In doing so I hope to demonstrate the essential, and understandable, ambivalenc...
Article
Much of the literature on ageing is presaged upon a model of advocacy that seeks to combat what is seen as the negative stereotyping of old age and old people. One consequence is that ageing studies has difficulty in confronting the darker side of ageing except in so far as age associated disability and distress can be attributed to extrinsic disad...
Article
The focus upon the body in the social sciences has had a growing influence in recent years on aging studies. Various terms have been used to explore the relationship between the body and society, of which ‘corporeality’ and ‘embodiment’ have taken pride of place. In this paper, we present the case for drawing a clear distinction between these two t...
Article
Old age featured in Samuel Beckett’s plays and novels throughout his literary career. This paper explores the question of how—or indeed if—Beckett’s own experience of aging and old age affected the representation of age in his late works. Focusing upon his last two trilogies, the plays Not I, Footfalls, and Rockaby and the novellas Company, Ill See...
Chapter
Full-text available
Institutional care for seniors offers a cultural repository for fears and hopes about an aging population. Although enormous changes have occurred in how institutional care is structured, the legacies of the poorhouse still persist, creating panicked views of the nursing home as a dreaded fate. The paradoxical nature of a space meant to be both hos...
Article
This paper aims to reconsider the relevance of Cornelius Castoriadis’ concept of the social imaginary as a way of re-invigorating the study of ‘collective representations’ within the social sciences. The paper begins with a review of how social thought has been understood, from Durkheim's writing on collective representations onwards. A case is mad...
Article
Full-text available
Beginning in the twelfth century, a renaissance in Western European learning took place as law, medicine, natural philosophy and theology began to emerge as academic disciplines. Functioning in the context of a Christian world view, concerns over the 'truth of human nature' and the status of the body led numerous scholastic writers to focus on matt...
Chapter
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In this chapter we consider the nursing home as both a site and a symbol that fashions the social imaginary of a fourth age. Before exploring the nursing home’s dual role, we will first outline the concept of a social imaginary, as well as how the fourth age can be thought of as such a social imaginary. Bearing in mind this conceptual framework, we...
Chapter
The short lifetime of digital technologies means that generational identities are difficult to establish around any particular technologies let alone around more far-reaching socio-technological 'revolutions'. Examining the consumption and use of digital technologies throughout the stages of human development, this book provides a valuable overview...
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The use of the term personhood has become central in defining key aspects of policy and practice in dementia care. While much has been made of its philosophical status, rather less attention has been paid to sociological approaches to concepts such as ‘self’ and ‘personhood’. The present paper argues that a return to the classical debates within so...
Article
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The sociology of dementia has been a relatively neglected but increasingly important topic in studies of health and illness. The theme of dementia, its diagnosis and its cultural role intersects with a number of important concerns within sociology and aligned disciplines. The symposium addresses gaps in our sociological knowledge of dementia and pr...
Chapter
Accompanying the ageing of contemporary ageing societies is an increase in age associated morbidity, with dementia having an important impact. Mental frailty in later life is a source of fear for many and a major policy concern to all those concerned with health and welfare services. This introduction to the special issue on ‘Ageing, dementia and t...
Article
Accompanying the ageing of contemporary ageing societies is an increase in age associated morbidity, with dementia having an important impact. Mental frailty in later life is a source of fear for many and a major policy concern to all those concerned with health and welfare services. This introduction to the special issue on ‘Ageing, dementia and t...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the central issue of the book – the transformation of Ireland from a young and growing country to one that shrank and grew old. The critical impact of the Famine is noted and the subsequent decline and ageing of the country during the period 1851–1901. Also noted is the marked variation in rates of ageing between the major me...
Chapter
Using household data from the 1821 and 1901 census logbooks from three counties, Cavan, Galway and King’s, this chapter explores the changing family and household structure in Ireland during this 80-year period. Traditional accounts of changes from pre-Famine to post-Famine Ireland are questioned – particularly the notion of the emergence of so-cal...
Article
Using a combination of statistical analysis of census material and social history, this book describes the ageing of Ireland's population from the start of the Union up to the introduction of the old age pension in 1908. It examines the changing demography of the country following the Famine and the impact this had on household and family structure...
Chapter
This chapter takes up the issue of poverty and vulnerability among households headed up by people aged 60 and more. While old age was a time of relative poverty throughout the nineteenth century, it is argued that the nature of that poverty and its social and symbolic constitution changed after the introduction of the Irish Poor Law in 1838. Follow...
Chapter
This penultimate chapter addresses the problem of sickness and ill health in nineteenth-century Ireland. It focuses upon various indicators of ill health among the older population and the gradual transformation of health care into the parallel systems of county hospital and poor law union provision. The old were progressively shifted into the poor...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of Irish society at the time of the Union with Great Britain in 1801. It considers the political changes introduced by Grattan’s parliament at the end of the eighteenth century and reviews the main social divisions within Ireland, based crucially upon land ownership, religious affiliation, language and education, a...
Book
Pushing forward new sociological theory, this book explores the theoretical and practical issues raised by ageing, and the associated problems of mental and physical frailty in later life.
Article
This paper concerns the social divisions of later life. Although research in this field has focused on class, gender and, more recently, sexuality as sources of division in later life, the division between the fit and the frail has tended to be ignored or viewed as an outcome of these other divisions. This paper challenges this assumption, arguing...
Book
How do we sustain agency and identity amidst the frailty of advanced old age? What role does care play in this process? Pushing forward new sociological theory, this book explores the theoretical and practical issues raised by age and infirmity. It begins with a theoretical examination of the fourth age, interrogating notions of agency, identity an...
Chapter
This chapter explores the question of agency and personhood as applied to old and infirm persons living under the shadows of the fourth age. It explores the metaphysical and moral conditions that have been claimed to support being a person and possessing personal agency. Personhood, it concludes, is more a place marker for rights than an ontologica...
Chapter
This chapter describes the abjection that is associated with late life frailty. Abjection refers to the collective distaste and shame associated with any devalued condition, status or position within society. Drawing upon the history of the ‘old’ abject classes, for whom the poorhouse or the workhouse served as their symbolic institution, it is arg...
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This chapter explores how terms like agency and personhood have been understood within the social sciences. It argues that there has long been a tradition of scepticism to the use of such terms and their status as ‘social realities’ rather than ‘social representations’. More recently, there has been renewed interest in concepts of ‘individualisatio...
Chapter
The fourth age is realised by and within the moral imperative of care. Recognising that a person needs help in looking after themselves implies not just vulnerability but incapacity. What renders this situation abject is the extent to which the person perceived as being incapable not only does not seek help but seems not to recognise themselves as...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the topic of care. Care is approached as a mandated, moral imperative. Societies (and families) should care about its members; the question is not whether to care but who cares, how they care and in what contexts. Three facets of care are explored, its ethos, its practices and the relationships within which it is socially rea...
Chapter
Frailty or infirmity is seen as a central element in the construction of the social imaginary of the fourth age. While the term is widely employed as a bio-medical condition that is capable of being defined and measured, this chapter argues that frailty serves as a marker – a signifier – of an almost intangible loss of capabilities, autonomy and st...
Chapter
This chapter outlines the fourth age paradigm. It argues that later life is increasingly losing its coherence as a unitary stage in the life course. Diversity in the discourses and practices surrounding later life abound. The discourses of active and healthy ageing in particular promote an optimistic ‘third age’ culture. This framing of later life...
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This chapter explores the distinction between formal and informal care and the recent rise of the former across many fronts, from home care to child care to personal care. While many aspects of formal care for old and infirm people draw upon models based upon ‘family’ care, it is performed within the framework of an employment contract. This tensio...
Chapter
While previous chapters considered care within the context of choice and options, of caring more or less, in a better or a worse way – care as a potential protection against as well as an inducer of the fourth age’s social imaginary, this chapter examines care at the extremities of dependency, particularly in relation to advanced dementia. Caring a...
Chapter
This chapter addresses some of the key ethical dilemmas posed during the course of dementia, from diagnosis through to end-of-life care. These dilemmas present a variety of different but related issues concerning autonomy and agency, care, consideration and dignity. While many of these are shared by other conditions associated with neuro-cognitive...
Chapter
This chapter addresses both the points of similarity and difference in how ageing and old age have been viewed by gerontology and geriatric medicine. The authors argue that until relatively recently both disciplinary fields shared a common viewpoint that distinguished between age-associated illness and age-related decline. The former was represente...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: To interrogate the concept of personhood and its application to care practices for people with dementia. Method: We outline the work of Tom Kitwood on personhood and relate this to conceptualisations of personhood in metaphysics and in moral philosophy. Results: The philosophical concept of personhood has a long history. The metaph...
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The bleaker aspects of old age have been encapsulated in the concept of a fourth age which has been likened to a metaphorical ‘black hole’ where human agency is no longer visible. This paper explores what such a formulation might mean for the moral standing of mentally and physically infirm persons. Does the idea of a fourth age reinforce represent...
Chapter
While physical exercise has conventionally been associated with masculinity and youth, changes over the last half century have seen exercise become commoditised and incorporated into the ungendered discourses of ‘active ageing’ (Walker, 2008). Although physical exercise has long been part of the care and cultivation of the self (Foucault, 1986), it...
Chapter
Old age is changing under the impact of demographic, social, and cultural shifts.
Chapter
The global economic recession has seen the re-emergence of a debate about the lack of generational justice in the UK (Beckett, 2010; Howker and Malik, 2010; Willetts, 2010). The idea that a form of generational capture has been effected by cohorts from the post-war baby boom has been widely amplified in the British mass media as austerity has been...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades changes in social connectivity have become key features in the changing contexts of later life. Communities of propinquity no longer seem to be as determining of social relationships as they once were. Mobile cell phone technology and the Internet have redefined what it means to 'keep in touch'. Some authors have argued that these...
Article
Full-text available
The life course has become a topic of growing interest within the social sciences. Attempts to link this sub-discipline with life span developmental psychology have been called for but with little sign of success. In this paper, we seek to address three interlinked issues concerning the potential for a more productive interchange between life cours...
Article
Full-text available
Drawing primarily upon data from the various censuses conducted in Ireland after the Act of Union in 1800, this paper seeks to elucidate the changing position of older people in Ireland during the Victorian period. Following the Great Famine of 1845-1849, it is argued, Ireland was transformed from a young, growing country to one that, by the end of...

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