Older people’s interest organisations and collective action in Ireland
Author: Martha Doyle

The politics of old age in the twenty-first century is contentious, encompassing ideological debates about how old age is conceptualised and the rights and welfare entitlements of individuals in later life. Synthesising key theoretical writings in political science, social/critical gerontology and cultural sociology, the book provides an insight into the complexity of older people’s identity politics, its relationship with age-based social policy and how the power of older people’s interest organisations, their legitimacy and existence remain highly contingent on government policy design, political opportunity structures and the prevailing cultural and socio-economic milieu. The book situates the discussion in the international context and outlines findings of an Irish case study which explores the evolution of older people’s interest organisation in Ireland from their inception in the mid-1990s to the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The book is essential reading for policymakers and organisations interested in ageing, policy and the political process and for students of ageing, social policy and political sociology.

Martha Doyle

and the cultural-framing process which encompasses both the construction of collective identities and the framing of age-based policy and constructs such as ‘older people’ and ‘representation’. Organisational resources Organisational resources need to be conceived in their broadest terms. According to the resource mobilisation perspective these resources encompass variables internal to the organisational infrastructure, but also external variables, such as organisations’ affiliations and wider formal and informal support. This perspective is particularly applicable

in The politics of old age
Martha Doyle

associated allocation of benefits on the basis of chronological age formed the basis of a new status for older people. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that in the decades following the creation of the welfare state, a burgeoning of older people’s interest organisations was evident across the US and Europe. The existence of age-related benefits and associated age-based policies provided older people’s interest organisations with an incentive to mobilise to protect these entitlements and identify shortfalls in the existing policies. This causality was succinctly

in The politics of old age
Martha Doyle

6 Policy-makers’ perspectives of older people’s interest representation Chapter 1 outlined how age-based social policy is influenced by a range of factors including economic and demographic forecasts, transnational organisations and globalisation. It also noted how in the present millennium the politics which surrounds the development of age-based policy is to a large extent ideologically driven. It argued that the ideological debate surrounding age-based policy centres on privation, individualisation of risk and the equity of specific age-related benefits. An

in The politics of old age
Abstract only
Contextualising the ‘politics of old age’
Martha Doyle

; Walker, 2006a). Within the ‘new politics of old age’, older people are seen as a homogenous group with resource differences within that segment of the population often overlooked. Fortunately, the predominant discourse surrounding older people has shifted from one in which older people were stigmatised as dependent to one which views their potential contributions to society in a more positive manner. However, the implications of this ‘new politics’ for age-based policy remains to be seen. What those implications are and the outcomes to which they will give rise will

in The politics of old age