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Ageing Societies

Module Code


Module Name

Ageing Societies

ECTS Weighting

  10 ECTS

Semester taught

Semester 1



Module Coordinator/s  

Prof. Virpi Timonen


Module Learning Outcomes with reference to the Graduate Attributes and how they are developed in discipline




On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

LO1. Differentiate between and critically discuss theories of ageing
LO2. Explain how ageing and old age are socially constructed
LO3. Outline the contributions of older people to families, societies and economies
LO4. Demonstrate an awareness of how diversity among older people arises from their social positionalities (e.g. gender, social class, ethnicity) and life histories
LO5. Critically examine prevailing views on population ageing and the implications they have for both social policy design and older people themselves
LO6. Discuss how generations are socially constructed and critically examine inter-generational relations
LO7. Apply theoretical and conceptual debates on ageing to the analysis of social policy documents and texts which relate to social policy and ageing (Graduate attributes: critical thinking)
LO8. Demonstrate their written and verbal ability to communicate concise and theoretically grounded arguments as they relate to social policy and ageing (Graduate attribute: communication skills)

Module Content

The purpose of the module is to explore the sociology and social policies of ageing societies (social gerontology) and to consider relations between generations from this perspective.
The module will provide students with an opportunity to discuss a range of substantive topics that are relevant to both individual and population ageing, and to both ‘young’ and ‘older’ people.
In order to help students acquire a critical understanding of the opportunities and challenges that demographic ageing presents, the module will introduce students to issues relating to the social construction of ageing, theories of ageing, and ideas of ‘active’ and ‘successful’ ageing, and policy approaches to care in old age.
The contributions of older adults to their families and society through multiple channels such as grandparenting and volunteering are highlighted. The module also covers distributional debates and notions of solidarity, conflict and ambivalence between societal and family generations.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Seminars; portfolio preparation; presentation delivery; scoping an essay topic and conducting searches for literature and other sources; essay writing

Assessment Details
Please include the following:

  • Assessment Component
  • Assessment description
  • Learning Outcome(s) addressed
  • % of total
  • Assessment due date*

Assessment Component

Assessment Description

LO Addressed

% of total


Preparation of a portfolio of work that demonstrates steps taken in identifying a suitable presentation topic; sources of information collected; and final set of PowerPoint slides

All, with emphasis on 7 and 8



Selecting an essay topic that pertains to two or more of the learning outcomes; sourcing literature (including academic and policy reports) and other sources that help to address the essay topic; writing and referencing a 2,000-word essay.

All, with emphasis on 7 and 8


Reassessment Requirements

Identical to what is set out above, except in the case of the presentation, this must accompanied by notes that explain the content of slides. Students who fail the module are reassessed in the failed component(s).

Contact Hours and Indicative Student Workload3


 Contact hours:
22 hours (11 x 2 hrs seminars)

Independent Study (preparation for course and review of materials):
120 hours

Independent Study (preparation for assessment, incl. completion of assessment):
60 hours

Recommended Reading List   

Dannefer, D. and Phillipson, C. (Eds.) (2013) The SAGE Handbook of Social Gerontology. London: SAGE Publications.
De Medeiros, K. (2016) The short guide to aging and gerontology. Bristol and Chicago: Policy Press / University of Chicago Press.
Timonen, V. (2008) Ageing societies: A comparative introduction. Maidenhead and New York: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.
Twigg, J. and Martin, W. (Eds.) (2015) Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. London and New York: Routledge.

*A penalty of 10% will be applied to students who submit essays late without an authorised extension.