By Tulle Emmanuelle
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Additional resources for Ageing, The Body and Social Change: Agency and Indentity Among Ageing Athletes
For instance, a senile body betrayed a correspondingly incontinent and unreliable personality. Senility posed a series of threats to the social body and the onus was therefore on individuals to manage their own ageing, by leading an exemplary life of thrift in lifestyle, aspirations and financial management. The ethical body The control of the body is therefore a moral enterprise in which the attainment of socially appropriate goals (such as the pursuit of health) signifies the mastery of individual moral responsibility.
The examples of embodiment which I have quoted reveal ageing bodies to be caught up in a range of binaries: as medicalised yet social, as the source of ontological vulnerability yet superfluous to identity, as passive yet active, as performing yet performed upon. Embodied agency appears reduced to the management of identity predicated on the denial of the phenomenological dimension of ageing in a bid to retain control and relevance. The relationship between ageing embodiment, the modalities of agency it enables and the structures in which older bodies are caught remains under-theorised.
Women diagnosed with osteoporosis have to subject themselves to a life of body management, involving medication, diet and appropriate exercise, to prevent their developing body shapes traditionally associated with ageing ossature. Ironically, it is the embodiment of women as weak, and their consequent “enfeeblement’’, which may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis in later life. Body projects The other process which has provided a space for bodies to be regulated is consumption and narcissism.
Ageing, The Body and Social Change: Agency and Indentity Among Ageing Athletes by Tulle Emmanuelle