Through its themes of subjectivity, surgery, and self-stylization this book critically examines the cultural constraints and incitements that shape the practice of cosmetic surgery by older people. The book problematizes anti-ageing discourses to provide a nuanced descriptive, ethical, and political reading of ‘older’ identity politics nested within the contemporary ethico-political terrain of self-care.
A New Ethic of ‘Older’ aims to de-territorialize the ‘older’ subject from normative discourses of ageing and theorize becoming ‘older’. Evidence of an active cultural politics of ‘older’ emerges from the critically reflexive engagement of older people with cosmetic surgery. This engagement constitutes a ‘cutting critique’ of ageing discourses enmeshed in an aesthetic mode of subjectivation that underpins ‘a new ethics of old age’.
The book will appeal to those in the fields of Cultural Gerontology, Ageing Studies, Critical Psychology, Sociology, and Cultural Geography. The methodological approach will be of interest to academics and students exploring the application of Foucault’s work on care of the self to contemporary contexts and practices.
Table of Contents
1. Introducing a New Ethic of ‘Older’
2. Designing ‘Older’ Rather than Denying Ageing
3. The Fractured ‘Older’ Subject at the Limits of ‘Ageing’
4. To Look Better not Younger
5. Ageing Disgracefully and Becoming ‘Older’
6. Concluding Cuts
Bridget Garnham is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Social Change within the School of Psychology, Social Work, and Social Policy at the University of South Australia, Australia.