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.
dependent on previous occupational status (Bornat, 1998); cause- or identity-based
advocacy organisations, which focus on specific subgroups of the older population,
such as women or ethnic minorities; and organisations which represent older people
with specific illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s associations (Schulz and Binstock, 2006).
Older people’s interest organisations and political influence
The ‘senior power model’ or ‘greypower thesis’ proposes that the higher voting rates
and political activism of older people in older people’s interest organisations