ABSTRACT. This paper is an attempt to re-position the perceptions and contributions of older people in contemporary Australian society. The world is undergoing a profound demographic shift, with almost every nation state experiencing population ageing on a scale that is unprecedented. This means that we have to search for new models by which to grow old and challenge stereotypes that there is only one acceptable way of doing so. The dominant view of adult ageing has recently changed from one based on dependency to one based on economic contribution. However if we are to successfully move to a new cultural environment – one that accepts age diversity and eschews age prejudice – we must consider a wide range of ways in which older adults can make a contribution. It would not be too much to say that we currently experience a poverty of meaning in our understanding of adult ageing. To address this poverty of meaning this paper draws on a series of social, cultural and historical ideas from which alternative understandings of ageing and later life are identified and discussed. Scholarly articles and texts from a range of disciplines form the basis of analysis, presenting a rich array of options for older adults. The discussion suggests that multiple sources of meaning are available to older adults, many of which counter dominant and acceptable ways of growing old in contemporary society. pp. 7–60

Keywords: ageing; older adults; life course; social policy; identity; diversity

How to cite: Carr, Ashley, Simon Biggs, and Helen Kimberley (2015), "Ageing, Diversity and the Meaning(s) of Later Life: Cultural, Social and Historical Models to Age By," Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 7(1): 7–60.

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University of Melbourne, Australia
University of Melbourne, Australia
University of Melbourne, Australia

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