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Older People: A Mini Ethnography

This ethnography was set up to look at the construction of older people as a stereotype by looking at the thoughts of an older individual in relation to their travels around the world. One person was used in an open interview to see if we could evaluate the ways in which ethnicity and cultural identity played a significant part in the construction of older people as a type. Accounts were taken in relation to the cultural significance of certain facets of their lives and the interviewee was asked to expand upon any differences and other essential qualities they thought existed. Specific accounts were taken from the interview, which was done via an interview. These detailed the interviewee's thoughts on stereotypes, older people and older people across cultures (Devine, 1989). Open conversation was employed. This was done so that we could gain a general bulk of information relating to the topic. After sieving through the bulk of accounts given, three extracts in relation to the three topics were extracted and looked at with respect to some relevant theory. A conclusion was made and a reflection was given about the whole process of the ethnography.



On reflection of the ideas that had been started with, I cannot say that there has been much change. I was aware of the role that stereotypes played in the conceptualisation of older people and the identity that they would take from this. However, I did find the way in which Brenda applied stereotypes to the different nationalities of other older people quite interesting. It would appear that older people are not just perceived as one whole category, but applied to a great deal of certain qualities and prejudices that can be presumed on description. Of course, much of this could be due to Brenda's rather uncommon worldly experiences, which when looking across some of the remarks made by theorists, would seem to be conducive to combining types and forming new more discerning categories. It has nonetheless been an interesting learning experience, combining many of the cultural concepts and social theories with an analysis of one persons account. It has turned out to be a valuable exercise, which has broadened my cultural awareness and highlighted the significance of both nationalistic stereotypes and the stereotypes of older people.

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