Policy Press

Publishing with a Purpose

Ageing in a consumer society

From passive to active consumption in Britain


1 Sep 2008

Page count

160 pages


Ageing and the Lifecourse series




240 x 172 mm


Policy Press
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Targeted as the 'grey consumer', people retiring now participated in the creation of the post-war consumer culture.  These consumers have grown older but have not stopped consuming.

Based on extensive analysis over two years, this unique book examines the engagement of older people with consumer society in Britain since the 1960s. It charts the changes in the experience of later life in the UK over the last 50 years, the rise of the 'individualised consumer citizen' and what this means for health and social policies. 

The book will appeal to students, lecturers, researchers and policy analysts. It will provide material for teaching on undergraduate courses and postgraduate courses in sociology, social policy and social gerontology. It will also have considerable appeal to private industry engaged with older consumers as well as to voluntary and non-governmental organisations addressing ageing in Britain.

Ian Rees Jones is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Wales, Bangor. The research was conducted by Chris Gilleard , Martin Hyde, Christina Victor, Richard Wiggins and Paul Higgs who was Principle investigator on the ESRC project.

Social change and later life; The historical evolution of the third age; Cohort, generation and time; Consumption and the changing nature of the household in later life; Later life in consumer society; Income, expenditure and inequalities in later life; Consuming health in later life; Health and social policy: a moving target; Conclusion.

"This book brings together research on later life and the literature on consumption in new ways. It is timely, informative, and thought-provoking." Professor Frank Trentmann, Birkbeck College, London, author of Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption and Civil Society in Modern Britain

Please send comp copy to Birkbeck College address