• Aging and Identity: A Dialogue with Postmodernism

      Powell, Jason; Gilbert, Tony; University of Liverpool; University of Plymouth (Nova Science Publishers, 2009-11-21)
      Viewing aging and identity through the critical lens of both contemporary gerontology theory and postmodernist concepts, the contributing scholars examine a vast range of issues: from disability to clothing; from aging, health and education to social philosophies and meanings of aging; and from auto-ethnographic methodologies to rethinking postmodern theories of aging. These rich examples demonstrate that traditional biomedical models of aging can no longer give universal and totalising views of aging. The key issue of the book is to point to the varied social and cultural representations and experiences of aging and identity formation. The book celebrates the diversity of older people, challenging the bio-medical equation of 'aging as decline' with exciting and alternative theorizations from postmodern gerontology. Further, a postmodern approach helps to debunk and shatter fixed and limited perceptions of aging by advocating an alternative expression of aging; the conceptual and theoretical focus on aging identity illuminates the self is fluid, changeable and dynamic. This book engages social theory with aging identity by analysing the challenges and opportunities afforded to older people in the ‘contemporary age of aging’.
    • Power and Social Work in the United Kingdom

      Gilbert, Tony; Powell, Jason; Plymouth University; University of Chester (Sage, 2010-01-08)
      This article explores relations of power in social work using insights drawn from the critical ‘toolkit’ emanating from work of French philosopher, Michel Foucault. The article discusses the relationship between Foucault’s conceptual tools of ‘knowledge and power’, the emergence of ‘the modern subject’ and the concept of ‘governmentality’. Despite ongoing pressures, professional expertise persists as a core element of neo-liberal government in the management of the population. We use a Foucauldian perspective to explore two issues central to contemporary practice: surveillance and discretion that epitomise dualism of power relations. On the one hand, surveillance brings with it a potentially problematic process especially in context of top down managerial power; yet, on the other hand, discretion is much more focused on what Foucault (1977) calls ‘the microphysics of power’ with opportunities for ‘resistance’ from the bottom up.