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Ageing Identities and Women's Everyday Talk in a Hair Salon

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York and London
Number of pages250
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-28310-9
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-24551-1
PublishedJan 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Sociolinguistics

King's Authors


The ageing of the world’s populations, particularly in western developed countries, is a well-documented phenomenon; and despite many positive images of later life, in the media and public discourse later life is frequently depicted as a time of inevitable physical and cognitive decline. Against this background, Heinrichsmeier presents the results of her two-year sociolinguistic study examining how a group of older women of different ages negotiated their way through their own and others’ expectations of ageing and constructed different kinds of older – and other – identities for themselves. Through vivid and nuanced analysis of their chat and practices in a small village hair salon, Heinrichsmeier reveals these women’s subtle and skillful manipulation of stereotypes of ageing and the impact of the evolving talk on their identity constructions. Her study, which provides numerous short extracts of talk in both the hair salon and interview along with more detailed case studies, highlights the importance of such apparently ‘trivial’ sites – for both studying older people’s identity work and as loci for positive identity constructions and well-being in later life. This book will be of particular interest to graduate students and scholars working in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, conversation analysis and gerontological studies, as well as those interested in approaches integrating ethnography and language.

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