Journal section "Theoretical issues"

The Evolution of Demographic and Social Construction of the Age of “Old Age”

Barsukov V.N., Kalachikova O.N.

Volume 13, Issue 1, 2020

Barsukov V.N., Kalachikova O.N. The Evolution of Demographic and Social Construction of the Age of “Old Age”. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2020, vol. 13, no.1, pp. 34–55. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2020.1.67.2

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2020.1.67.2

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
In the 21st century, global demographic system is in the transition from the stage of demographic dividend implementation to population ageing. A global trend of the age structure transformation is a new, by the history’s standards, phenomenon. Reasons and mechanisms of its emergence are revealed and empirically confirmed. However, the issue of the population ageing’s consequences, which do not have universal mechanisms of formation and differ according to a territorial basis, remains relevant. The reason of differences is not only about socio-economic parameters of countries, which determine the potential to overcome the consequences of demographic ageing, but also about the lack of a common understanding of the “old age” and the correlation between the demographic basis of its construction and the social perception of this category. Population ageing and ageing society are manifestations of the age structure transformation, which have common reasons of emergence, but they are conceptually different in defining the age of the “old age”. Thus, the purpose of this work is to identify and systematize the evolutionary features of demographic and social construction of the age of the “old age”. The article consists of two main parts: the analysis of existing approaches to constructing the age of the population’s demographic “old age” and features of the transformation of public perception of elderly population in different historical epochs (social construction of the studied category). The main conclusion of the study is that within global, irreversible (with a narrowed reproduction) ageing of the population and demographic beta-convergence, the construction of the age of the “old age” gradually moves into the social area. Societies restructure the concept of the old age not only through the prism of increasing life expectancy (including healthy), but also through awareness of the increasing role of the older generation in maintaining sustainable rates of the socio-economic development. On this background, the main task of “ageing” states is to overcome the persistent (albeit on a less significant scale) manifestations of age discrimination against older citizens


population ageing, older generation, age of “old age”, social construction

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