“With great rigour, yet an enviable lightness of touch, Susan Pickard has written an engaging and accessible book that students will love.” – Rosaline Gill, City University London “A scholarly tour de force that brings into focus the various disciplines, histories, literatures and knowledges that have transformed us into modern subjects of age.” – Stephen Katz, Trent University Age Studies takes an invigorating approach to the study of age and ageing in contemporary society. Encompassing ageing throughout the life course, taking in childhood, adolescence, mid-life and older age, and situated explicitly within a sociological disciplinary framework, Age Studies:  • Explores current social science debates on the study of ageing linking these to core sociological concepts.  • Links theory and application, using a variety of examples and international case studies  • Includes chapter summaries, further reading and guided questions. A thought-provoking companion to advanced undergraduates and postgraduate student studying ageing, older people, social gerontology and related courses.

Age Studies: What is it and why do we need it?

Age Studies: What is it and why do we need it?

The Age System

To discover what we mean when discussing the age system we should consider the figure of the ‘old Hag’1 as depicted by Rodin.2 The sense of horror and tragedy, of dread and pity we feel in her presence represents the distillation of the age system (which is also a sexist system) and as such defines it.

The old Hag appears in many forms but in each case she depicts the deep resistance towards old age that is located in our collective consciousness. A memorable section from towards the end of H. Rider Haggard’s Victorian ‘penny dreadful’ She reads:

I gazed at her ...

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