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Ageing, Images and Attitudes


Thu 27. 8.  14:00 - 15:30
room FA 204

Age Segregation as reflected in the Dutch news media


Lepianka, Dorota
Utrecht University, Netherlands, The

The study to be presented in this paper rests on the assumption of an active role of the media in the processes of the (re-)establishment of boundaries between specific social groups, such as between older and younger people. Indeed, considering the prevalence of age segregation in virtually all domains of social life, including institutional and spatial arrangement and the resulting infrequency of direct contacts between younger and older people, it is plausible that it is predominantly through the media that a socially shared matrix of inter-generational relations is constructed and/or reinforced; if not directly – e.g. by disseminating specific patterns of behaviour, then indirectly – by propagating specific (group) stereotypes. Therefore, the central question to be addressed in the paper pertains to the nature of relations between the older and younger people as (re-)constructed in Dutch print media. A qualitative content analysis, conducted on a sample of articles from two broadly read Dutch newspapers at four different points of time (in 2010 and 2012) allowed distinguishing three main types of relationships between older and younger characters presented in press reports: (parallel) coexistence, (direct) interaction and (indirect) conflict. The nature of each form of media-constructed relationship and their social implications will be discussed.