Allain, K.A., Marshall, B.
Foucault retires to the gym: Understanding embodied aging in the third age
(2017) Canadian Journal on Aging, 36 (3), pp. 402-414.
In light of recent social pressures leading to a reimagining of the “Third Age” as a time of constant activity rather than repose and relaxation, this article explores the pressure on individuals to age “successfully” by engaging in physical activity in later life. Through semi-structured interviews with 15 retired or semi-retired gym-goers (eight women and seven men), the article examines how this call to increased activity impacts the ways active mid-life and older adults understand themselves and others. Drawing on Foucault’s understandings of the productive nature of power, we argue that those who perceive themselves as successfully heeding the call to active aging position themselves in contrast to inactive peers. Within a neoliberal framework, these participants self-identify as morally responsible citizens who, as a result of engagement in fitness activities, are authorized to survey and discipline the bodies of those “others” who will not or cannot engage in regular exercise. © Canadian Association on Gerontology 2017.
Aging; Embodiment; Exercise; Fitness; Foucault; Third age
adult, aging, clinical article, drawing, exercise, female, human, leisure, male, physical activity, semi structured interview, social problem