The “Good Life”: Third Age, Brand Modi and the cultural demise of old age in urban India
Keywords:Cultural Turn, Third Age, Brand Modi, consumerism, India
In this piece, I outline the possibility of understanding old age through the lens of cultural gerontology highlighting the intersecting logics of age with consumption, leisure and identity. I argue that with rising affluence and demographic aging, India is poised to experience an emergent cultural movement, the Third Age (Laslett, 1989), wherein access to cultural capital and an active participation in a leisure culture will offer social membership among upper middle class older adults. Using examples from luxury senior housing projects and travel/holiday packages, I reflect how this process of agentic consumerism with a focus on the ideals of youthfulness, choice, self-expression and pleasure is turning the decline narrative (typically associated with “natural” aging) on its head. The success of this market-driven cultural model, I argue, lies in the celebration of a project on the self where the responsibility to “age well” rests with the individual-a key political economy of the neoliberal regime-absolving the state of public provisions and social security. In conclusion, I show how age and political masculinity intersect to create, what I call, Brand Modi- a potent vision of active and age-ambiguous consumer citizenry. Through this construction, I argue, life-stage has been suitably marketed to match the aspirations of a greying cohort marking a new stage in the cultural constitution of age in urban India.
Bolles, Richard Nelson (1981). “The three boxes of life and how to get out of them. An introduction to life/work planning”. Berkley: Ten Speed Press.
ECLAC (2002). “Los adultos mayores en América Latina y El Caribe” (Older adults in Latin America and The Caribbean). Santiago de Chile: ECLAC
Escobar, Silvia (2014). “Trabajando por la vida. Los adultos mayores en el mundo rural de Bolivia” (Working to live. Older adults in Bolivia’s rural world). Bolivia: CEDLA, HelpAge International
HelpAge (2012). “Los adultos mayores en el mundo del trabajo urbano” (Older adults in the urban work world). Bolivia: CEDLA, HelpAge International
INEI (2017). “Situación de la población adulta mayor” (The Situation of Older adult population). Technical Report N°3- September 2017. Lima: INEI
Lamb, Sarah (2013). “Permanent personhood or meaningful decline? Toward a critical anthropology of successful aging”. In Journal of Aging Studies. N°29. p. 41- 52
Miralles, Ivana (2011). “Envejecimiento productivo. Las contribuciones de las personas mayores desde la cotidianidad” (Productive aging. The daily contribution of older adults). In Trabajo y sociedad. N° 16. Vol. XV
Montes de Oca, V. and Montoya, J. (2009). “Situación laboral de la PAM en el Estado de México” (The work situation of older adults in the State of Mexico). In Papeles de Población. N°59
Nué, Angélica (2000). “Percepciones y autopercepciones de ancianos en la comunidad de Santa Cruz de Andamarca” (Perceptions and autoperceptions of the elderly in the community of Santa Cruz- Andamarca). In Anthropologica. N° 18. pp. 153- 173
Parry, Jane and Taylor, Rebecca (2007). “Orientation, opportunity and autonomy: why people work after state pension age in three areas of England”. In Ageing and Society. Issue 04. Pp. 579- 598
Paz, Jorge (2010). “Envejecimiento y empleo en América Latina y El Caribe” (Aging and employment in Latin America and The Caribbean). Ginebra: ILO
Olivera, J. and Clausen, J. (2014). “Las características del adulto mayor peruano y las políticas de protección social” (The characteristics of the Peruvian Older Adult and the policies of social protection). In Economía. Vol. XXXVII. N°73. pp. 75- 113
Ramos, Miguel (2009). “Las PAM y su contribución a la lucha contra la pobreza” (The older adults and their contribution to poverty reduction). Lima: UNFPA, MINDES
Reynolds, et al (2012). “Otherwise it would be nothing but cruises”. In International Journal of Ageing and Later Life. Vol. 7. N°1. pp. 79-106
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.