Ageing, gender and class: differences in experiences and livelihood strategies of ageing populations in Harare, Zimbabwe
Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explores ageing as experienced by ageing populations of Harare, Zimbabwe, while raising questions about what constitutes the very category ageing. The study also explores the class and gender dimensions of ageing on the livelihoods of older populations. The research focuses on older people from the age of sixty-five who are heads of households. The study is designed from the perspective of an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in combination with Narrative Analysis (NA) situated within the theory of Social Constructionism, Intersectionality, and Theory of Practice by Bourdieu. The study draws on qualitative data collected from nine older people (both male and female) from three different localities of Harare: Epworth, Glen View, and Mt Pleasant. This research departs from common ways of viewing ageing people as passive and docile subjects, engaging with them, instead, as active agents who construct the social worlds they inhabit, albeit in material contexts which shape and constrain their agency. This means engaging with them as authorities about themselves, their everyday lives, their pleasures and anxieties and the relations and identifications they make. In adopting this research approach, my study generates new understandings about ways in which Zimbabwean ageing populations in the study construct and experience ageing, which debunked stereotypical associations of “ageing people” with intellectual and physical impairment. Indeed, one of the key findings which emerged from this research is that older people need recognition within research, not only as subjects to be used for knowledge gathering, but also as a populace with active personhoods. The findings of the study carry important implications for developing social policies to promote sound policies for ageing populations and the creation of opportunities to shape the lives of older people.
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