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The silver lining of greying : ageing discourses and positioning of ageing persons in the field of social health insurance

  • Van den Bogaert, Sarah
  • Ceuterick, Melissa
  • Bracke, Piet
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
DOI: 10.1177/1363459318800171
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Contemporary ageing discourses and policies perceive being active as the key to a good later life and thereby focus on individual responsibility and self-care. Drawing on website articles and press releases of Belgian sickness fund agencies, this study analyses the ageing discourses and positioning of ageing persons of these organisations. A discourse analysis was performed using positioning theory to analyse how sickness fund agencies discursively construct the ageing process and position ageing persons, and to investigate how these positioning acts are related to sickness fund agencies’ roles as social insurer, social movement, social entrepreneur and private insurer. Our results reveal three storylines on ageing; ageing as a medical problem, ageing as a new stage in life and ageing as a natural life process. These storylines are applied to construct ageing and position ageing persons in different ways. Depending on their role, sickness fund agencies take on a different position drawing on these different storylines. We also show how these storylines reproduce the moral framework on how to age well and thereby disempower ageing persons. Our results underline the importance of multidimensional perspectives on ageing.

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