Active aging policy and associative democracy in Denmark: A critique of the 'Neoliberal' critique

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningfagfællebedømt

‘Active Aging’ has become a dominant, if discontinuous, discourse in the provision of sport and physical activity (PA) for older adults. Active aging policies and programmes generally shift focus away from an economy of treatment and a narrative of decline in later life. Instead, they advocate the promotion and adoption of a positive mindset and ‘good’ lifestyle choices as ways to age ‘successfully’, including participation in sport, exercise and PA. Moreover, active aging policies are frequently associated with ‘neoliberal’ tendencies, including the responsibilisation of older individuals to maintain their own health. The sociocultural determinants of inequality in later life are largely overlooked. Nevertheless, active aging policies and programmes have been interpreted and adapted in multiple ways, such that defining active aging policy is increasingly challenging. By referring to recent changes in Civic policy in Copenhagen, Denmark, we argue that the tendency to equate active aging policy with a totalizing concept of ‘Neoliberalism’ can obscure interpretational nuance. We thematically analysed 14 regional and Civic policy documents focusing upon the introduction of ‘Activity Centres’ in Copenhagen Municipality. Rather than reducing adoption of active lifestyles in later life to individual responsibility and consumer logic, results suggest Danish Associative democracy, previously connected with ‘Third Way’ politics, facilitates community-oriented interpretations of active aging. Here, a balance of rights and responsibilities, shared-ownership and volunteerism are advocated, together with ‘meaningfulness’ of activity. Conversely, the conceptualization of a distinct (65+, White-Danish) ‘elderly’ community can neglect diversity, reduce cross-generational cooperation and limit the ‘preventative’ potential of active aging programmes.
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2018
BegivenhedThe 2018 Annual Conference of the International Sociology of Sport Association: Sports Organizations and Organizing Sports: Critical Reflections - University of Lausanne (UNIL), Lausanne, Schweiz
Varighed: 5 jun. 20188 jun. 2018


KonferenceThe 2018 Annual Conference of the International Sociology of Sport Association
LokationUniversity of Lausanne (UNIL)

Bibliografisk note

CURIS 2018 NEXS 220

ID: 198590360