'Healthy Ageing' policies and anti-ageing ideologies and practices: On the exercise of responsibility

Beatriz Cardona*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores how the exercise of the ethics of 'responsibility' for health care advanced through 'healthy ageing' and 'successful ageing' narratives in Western countries animates an array of 'authorities', including the 'anti-ageing medicine' movement as a strategy to address the anxieties of growing old in Western societies and as a tool to exercise the ethos of 'responsibility'. The choice of this type of authority as a source of guidance for self-constitution and the exercise of the 'responsible self', this paper will argue, enables the enactment of a type of late modernity notion of citizenship for ageing individuals based on principles of agelessness, health, independence and consumption power. Through interviews with anti-ageing consumers, however, it is also possible to argue the existence of tensions and contradictions that such a rigid model of self-constitution in later life produces, and the potential forms of resistance and contestations that may emerge as a result. In this way the current 'war on anti-ageing medicine' (Vincent 2003) becomes also symptomatic of bigger 'wars' taking place not only between institutions competing for control over knowledge and management of ageing, but between those in favour and against the homogenisation of life under the language of universal science, reason and market rationality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-483
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-ageing medicine
  • Ethopolitics
  • Healthy ageing
  • Neoliberalism
  • Self-care


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