Active ageing in Denmark; shifting institutional landscapes and the intersection of national and local priorities

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

Studies of governance rarely examine how specific institutional configurations are designed to target specific ‘problem’ groups, including older adults via ‘active ageing’ policies. In Denmark, active ageing policy has been contoured by the Structural Reform of 2007, which drove changes in institutional landscapes at both national and local levels. Rather than representing a ‘hollowing out’ of control from the centre, the Danish Structural Reform comprised a decentralised re-territorialisation of welfare provision, giving the state additional fiscal powers whilst placing additional responsibility for welfare delivery at the municipal level. The introduction of ‘Activity Centres’ for older citizens in Copenhagen is an exemplar of this change. Here, the provision of sport and exercise to older citizens was driven by neoliberal consumer logic and demand for self-determination. Yet local services are delivered with communitarian goals and methods which directly incorporate service end-users in governance and decision-making processes. Older citizens are thus empowered to define meaningfulness in activities, but only as an active member of a community. Participants are conceptualised simultaneously as both consumer and voluntary promoter/supporter of active lifestyles within that community. ‘Open access’ to activity programmes is sought, but participation requires membership. Free choice is emphasized, yet activity programmes are designed according to group consensus and available resources. Claims to cater for the entire older population sit alongside a lower age limit of 65 years and the stated aim of ensuring citizens remain free of reliance upon municipal services. Activity Centres therefore represent an autonomization of responsibility for health maintenance among older citizens, whilst concurrently reflecting new techniques of arms-length state governance of their behaviour.
TidsskriftJournal of Aging Studies
Sider (fra-til)1-9
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2018

Bibliografisk note

CURIS 2018 NEXS 190

ID: 196889000