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POLAND: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN? OR: ON SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF OLD AGE

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Author(s): Justyna Stypinska

Journal: Studia Humanistyczne AGH
ISSN 1732-2189

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 139;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: old age | social constructionism | media

ABSTRACT
The article focuses on the various approaches to the phenomenon of old age in Poland from the perspective of social constructionism in sociology. It attempts to demonstrate that the defi nition of old age is not a primitive notion of essentialist character, but a set of meanings that are permanently transformed and negotiated depending on the social contexts in which they are deployed. The concept of social constructionism of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann serves as a theoretical prism for the analysis of the empirical material. The empirical material consists of a set of texts and commentaries from the readers and users of the Internet portal GazetaWyborcza and the report “Is Poland a country for old men?”. The major guideline for the analysis of the empirical material was to identify the major themes and spheres of social life discussed among the readers and Internet users. The subsequent steps were: synthesis and interpretation of the results.The analysis showed that the main concerns regarding the topic of old age are the following: public space as a place of alienation or even perhaps “invisibility” of older people, the labour market as an area of domination of young people, media described as the “dictatorship of young faces”, and the usage of new technologies by seniors.
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