The ageing of the world’s populations, particularly in Western developed countries, is a well-documented phenomenon; and despite many positive images of later life, in the media and public discourse later life is frequently depicted as a time of inevitable physical and cognitive decline. Against this background, Heinrichsmeier presents the results of her two-year sociolinguistic study examining how a group of older women of different ages negotiated their way through their own and others’ expectations of ageing and constructed different kinds of older – and other – identities for themselves. Through vivid and nuanced analysis of their chat and practices in a small village hair salon, Heinrichsmeier reveals these women’s subtle and skilful manipulation of stereotypes of ageing and the impact of the evolving talk on their identity constructions. Her study, which provides numerous short extracts of talk in both the hair salon and interview along with more detailed case studies, highlights the importance of such apparently ‘trivial’ sites – for both studying older people’s identity work and as loci for positive identity constructions and well-being in later life. This book will be of particular interest to graduate students and scholars working in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, and gerontological studies, as well as those interested in approaches integrating ethnography and language.
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of tables
Chapter 1 Ageing in society and in interaction
Chapter 2 Researching identities in a hair salon
Chapter 3 Ageing: Manoeuvring around decline
Chapter 4 Not only old: Negotiating ageing in salon talk
Chapter 5 First impressions
Chapter 6 Negotiating stances to appearance
Chapter 7 Ageing well in stories of daily life
Chapter 8 Being more than ‘older women’
Chapter 9 Looking back, looking forward
Rachel Heinrichsmeier is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. Her research focusses on identity construction in interaction, particularly older-age, gender and institutional identities, and combines a conversation analytic-informed discourse analysis with ethnographic methods.