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'Seniors are disabled or like everybody else': Dilemmas for policy makers when dealing with life course transitions and heterogeneity in applied fields such as transportation
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The point of departure for this article is the results from a case study of Sweden on national actors and policies dealing with senior obility published in a EU report 2013. The results showed that senior road users were a neglected category on national policy level espite concerns of the ageing of society. In this article the case study was further analysed in a theoretical framework of categorisation n order to get in-depth knowledge on how older road users were discussed and categorised. The main empirical data was interviews, documents and web pages, all focusing on national level. There was ambivalence among important national transportation actors in how to deal with the category of older road user. Officials at Swedish Transport Administration claimed e.g. older road users to be a nonrelevant category since issues of importance for this category were brought up in relation to categories such as disability and vulnerable road users. Otherwise older road users were like "everybody else". There was a backlash where heterogeneity was explicitly used as an argument for not focusing explicitly on older people. It appeared to be based on an understanding of heterogeneity as diversity of characteristics (except chronological age) while not recognizing how individuals with different characteristics still may pass common life course transitions related to the life course. The tendency to view categories in this context as constructed on specific static characteristics (e.g. chronological age, disability features) thus largely dismissed the temporal dimension in ageing and life course transitions and processes. The consequence was, among others, a problematic one-dimensional understanding of heterogeneity. The article argues that what has often been viewed as an advance, in gerontology and later spread to other fields, namely putting forward heterogeneity in order to challenge homogenous views of old age, should be accompanied also with a more thorough view on heterogeneity in relation to age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-34177OAI: diva2:753770
22nd Nordic Congress in Gerontology, Gothenburg, May 25-28, 2014
Available from: 2014-10-08 Created: 2014-10-08 Last updated: 2014-10-09Bibliographically approved

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Heikkinen, Satu
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