The situation of the elderly in France (correction)

Here is a possible correction.

Let’s insist, a correction means that there is no valid correction for everyone, but everyone has his own reflection on the question.

This being said, this answer key will give you many clues to understand this subject, and has the advantage of exploring the situation of the elderly from the outside in, and from the inside (the elderly) to the outside (the rest of society).

Introduction – situation of the

elderlyAccording to INSEE, life expectancy at birth reached 79.5 years for men and 85.4 years for women in 2018 in metropolitan France.

Counter-hook: Raising the retirement age, an idea that successive governments are interested in, is indeed a sign that the situation of the elderly is evolving and that, yes, there are more and more elderly people, but these elderly people are not necessarily less healthy.

The words of the question: We can immediately note the use of the term “elderly” without doubt to avoid the pejorative notion of “old age” or “old”. When can one be considered as an elderly person? There are inevitably limits that can be set in a quantitative way. Is it 60 years old as the first sentence of the document indicates? Or in a more interesting way, and which will interest sociology more, in a qualitative way as depicted by the words of Jacques Brel in “Les Vieux”.

The problem: How do the elderly, whose definition corresponds to the biological process of aging, transcend this natural acceptance to assert a necessary consideration of their situation in society adapted to the evolution of the time?


Development – situation of the elderly

I. Respect for the elderlyA

. Rejection of the elderly

In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the elderly were treated with difficulty and even rejected by society. Youth was valued, and individuals who were able to “serve” society effectively.

B. The 18th century and the gain of respect for the elderly

The artisanal bourgeoisie accelerates an improved image of the elderly, sign of wisdom, hindsight, you know-how.

C. Capitalism and the return to a negative image of the elderly

In L’Homme et la Mort, Edgar Morin uses the word degerontocratization, which, as the etymology indicates, means that the elderly are falling from the pedestal to which they had been promoted.

Capitalism, through the rapid development of knowledge, makes the science of experience possessed by the elderly lose its interest.

II. Older people are themselves looking for a posture to adopt

Simone de Beauvoir studies this phenomenon in La Vieillesse.

A. The posture of psychic regression

The elderly internalize the negative image of their situation and become more and more dependent, and remain passive.

B. The posture of sublimation

Desires, especially physical ones, are intellectualized. It is time for activities from which one does not benefit, whether they are cultural or charitable.

C. The posture of denial

This is “youthism”: wanting to stay young, appearing young, playing young.

One then denies one’s situation as an elderly person in order to be as close as possible to young people.

III. Distancing the biological process to find a new nature of the situation of the elderlyA

. Dependency and the living conditions of the elderly in social institutions

EHPAD, retirement homes

B. The problem of pensions: work and justice

Whether under the presidency of Sarkozy, Hollande, or Macron, pensions is an issue that runs through their five-year term.

“Aging is going to disrupt French society,” asserted François Fillon as Minister of Social Affairs, Labor and Solidarity. “The question of pensions is the question of the aging of France, the question of work, the question of justice.”

+ Income security.

C. Twenty-first century: leaving the symbolic

The twenty-first century is marked by a shift away from the symbolic situation of the elderly and towards economic issues. Some will regret that, in the vein of capitalism, the elderly are no longer seen as human beings or even as a community with strong and important symbols for society, but only as individuals who must be taken care of economically.

→ Compilation Sciences Po Bordeaux 2019