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Title: Little old ladies and other myths : an ideological analysis of older women's everyday talk.
Author: Emerson, Anah Darlene Gorall.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3447 3883
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 1996
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The knowledge we have about older women-the images we have of them, the things we say about them-serves to render them socially invisible and to produce the discursive 'little old lady'. However, it can be shown that the notions we have about older women are produced by the relations that obtain between ideology, discourse and are reproduced, resisted, and contradicted by older women themselves at the level of everyday talk. This thesis is concerned with exposing these relations and re-thinking older women in their complexity. An examination is carried out of the discourses within which the subject positions of older women are generated. In particular the western epistemological discourses concerning body, self, women and ageing are examined. Interviews with 20 women between the ages of 61-104 were carried out in order to explore the differences in the strategies used by older women in negotiating identity within the context of a sexist and ageist society. In particular the differences among and between ages, class, marital status, colour, and sexual orientation was of interest. The transcripts resulting from the interviews were analyzed for the range of positions the women took up or resisted within dominant discourses (ageist, femininity) and peripheral discourses (feminism and postmodemist discourses of the body, leisure and difference). Notions of older women as socially dependent, inactive, unhealthy and asexual were not supported. Further the method deployed enabled a view of the movement in speech where there was a dilemma between ideological positions (what is supposed to be) and everyday practices (what is). The conclusion is that the words and lives of older women disrupt the simple categorization of the 'discursive' little old lady. Rather older women were shown to be more diverse and complex than our current knowledge about them implies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Aging; Metaphors