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5 Conclusion

As we have seen, pensions are both inherently personal and political. Pensions and other social policies are heavily implicated in shaping the way older people experience their personal lives, and the way in which these personal lives have become constructed as ‘other’. Providing a means by which older lives could be ‘divided up’ and divided out of the domain of paid employment, and reconstituted through the arena of public and private welfare, this process is also informed
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4.3 Reconstituting older people's personal lives in uncertain times

The multiplicity of different ‘work-endings’ at the close of the twentieth century, combined with the increasing mobilisation of older people through pensioner and ‘third age’ movements, effectively destabilised the institution of retirement and the associated orthodoxy that older age began at the age of 60 or 65 years.

However, voices from within the pensioner movement were marginalised in the process of reconstitution that ensued. A neo-liberal redrawing of th
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4.2 Moving towards greater equality in older age? Old Labour, pension reform and the continuity of a

The mid 1970s heralded a period in which the Labour Government introduced a series of reforms in the pension arena that potentially promised a more secure retirement for older, working-class people. Stripping away some of the patriarchal assumptions that had informed the Beveridgean settlement, the 1975 Social Security Pensions Act promised particular benefits for women and other low-paid workers. For example, the dual aspects of many women's lives – involving both unpaid and paid work –
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4.1 Introduction

The 1970s marked a period in which the cessation of the ‘normal’ period of full-time employment at 60 or 65 years had become the accepted orthodoxy. The personal lives of older people had thus become constituted outside the domain of paid employment and within the arena of public and private welfare. As we illustrated in the preceding section, pensions, organised around fixed ages of retirement based on chronological measurements of age, played a crucial role in this process. Further
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3.3 Beveridge and the move towards a ‘species of universalism’

The 1942 Beveridge Report laid the foundations for the 1946 National Insurance Act and the creation of the welfare state. This represented a central plank of the post Second World War reconstruction. State pensions were viewed as offering a basic minimum income to old people, thereby constituting them as part of the nation's social citizenry. However, cultural and economic imperatives privileging the needs of the young over those of the old meant older people's citizenship rights were in real
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3.2 The 1908 Pensions Act and the inter-war years: counting age and discounting older workers

The 1908 Pensions Act represented the first time welfare interventions in older age were based on chronological age. It set the pension age at 70 years. Prior to this, although chronological age was often noted in Poor Law records, it did not constitute the basis of eligibility. Rather, age, and older age specifically, was constructed in terms of particular forms of embodiment, with older people being defined as those whose bodies were ‘past’ work, ‘worn out’ by work or 
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3.1 Introduction

In this section we look at the way in which the personal lives of older people have been socially constructed through pensions policies over the last century. As we saw above, welfare policies and changes in employment in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century constructed the personal lives of older people as ‘other’ to the emergent normal of relatively younger, ‘independent’ paid workers. Here, we explore the way pensions policies
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2.3 Older lives and elder care homes: care and control

The de facto constitution of workhouses as ‘older’ spaces can be viewed as representing a precursor to public elder care homes as these developed later in the twentieth century. Indeed, the numbers of older people in such care homes today remains consistent with the 5 per cent of older people inhabiting workhouses at the end of the nineteenth century (Midwinter, 1997). Constituted as sites of care rather than control, these homes have nonetheless been subject to considerable critical
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2.2 Older lives and the shadows of the workhouse: mediating ‘welfare’ through the thre

For much of the nineteenth century, the experience of public welfare by older working-class people was mediated through the local administrations of the 1834 New Poor Law Act (a separate Act was introduced in Scotland in 1845) and the deterrent of the workhouse that provided its spine. The Act enshrined a particular set of social relations underpinned by the dominant liberal political ideology of laissez-faire. Predicated on a philosophy of non-state intervention, this ideology advocat
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2.1 Introduction

In this section, we explore how experiences of being an older person in the nineteenth century were constituted through the operation of the 1834 New Poor Law Act and the processes of industrial change that ran parallel to it. We examine the way this constructed the lives of older people as ‘other’ to the emergent ‘normal’ (adult, relatively youthful, male paid worker) and trace its legacy to reveal points of continuity and change.

1 The experience of‘old age’

Extract 1 Mrs Pullen

I don't think I mind being old, I try very hard to accept that I am old, but what makes it harder is that people think that old age is a write-off … The reason it's brought home to you with such a jolt is because you give up work. You have to give up work – suddenly
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Next steps

After completing this unit you may wish to study another OpenLearn Study Unit or find out more about this topic. Here are some suggestions:

If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explo
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7 Conclusion

We have explored nations, national self-determination and secession as living political ideas. Perhaps the key points to emerge from the discussion are that:

  • the nation-state is the basic political community in the contemporary world, despite regional and global challenges;

  • subjective approaches to defining nations, prioritising awareness of belonging to a national group, have advantages over efforts to construct objective definitions
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6.7 What about alternatives to secession?

We have seen that in principle there are alternatives: cultural autonomy or a form of federalism. There are alternative ways to recognise 'national' identity apart from secession.

One conclusion to arise from this discussion of secession is that we are not cast adrift without any general principles or guidelines. We have also seen how the complexities of the real political world impinge upon poli
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2.5.2 Genetic explanations

Earliest investigators noted that dyslexia tends to run in families, and studies involving extended families or twins have confirmed this. The heritability of dyslexia is estimated at around 50 per cent ‘about half of the variability in dyslexic traits found in the general population could be attributable to genetic variation’. However, the mode of inheritance is not known, and as with most behaviourally defined conditions, genetic studies of dyslexia are complicated by a number of f
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3 Partir ou pas?

Another aspect of holiday-making is the type of holiday that people choose. Here we look at how trends are changing among the French, and then hear people talk about their favourite destinations.

Activité 11 EXTRAIT 5

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2 Les Français en congé

In the second video sequence various people tell us when they take their holidays and explain why they do so. Before watching them, check whether you know how to talk about months and seasons in French.

Grammar Point 3 Talking about months and seasons

Months

When talking abou
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3.5 Benzodiazepine tranquillisers, Prozac and the SSRIs

One of the most significant ranges of drugs ever produced is the benzodiazepine tranquillisers (usually classed as ‘minor tranquillisers’ or ‘hypnotics’), often prescribed as a remedy for ‘minor’ disorders such as depression, sleeplessness and anxiety. In effect, they extended the range of conditions that could be treated by medication. The best-known example is probably Valium.

3.4 Pharmaceuticals for mental health: a brief history

The ‘revolution’ in drug therapy is widely credited with causing the mass closure of psychiatric hospitals in the 1950s and 1960s, meaning that patients who had previously been considered too much of a danger to themselves or others could be safely housed ‘in the community’ as long as they took the medication. However, the trend for a reduction in numbers was already evident at the time the drugs in question began to be available, and academics such as Joan Busfield and Andr
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