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Ageing: the best years of our lives?

Publications • • Friederike Ziegler, Nicholas Stern

For our opening series of Debates, the Academy chose to look at the challenges and the opportunities that an ageing population is creating for us, both as individuals and also in wider social, cultural and economic terms.

When people think about ageing – about society’s and our own attitudes towards older people, about possible policy initiatives or about future research priorities – we want such thinking to be informed by what the humanities and social sciences can contribute. We neglect at our peril the perspectives, concepts and fresh ideas which these disciplines bring to the table, because they have a unique role in helping us travel beyond the simplicities, stereotypes and generalities that too often prevail. For example, the Debates have shown us that older people, mostly, have not stolen their children’s future. They have shown us that older people were not valued more highly in a past golden age. And they have shown that, often, it is not made easy for older people to contribute as they could.

This booklet summarises the main themes from these discussions and sets out some key points for those interested in exploring these challenges further.


Number of pages: 24

Publication date: 2014

Author: Friederike Ziegler, Nicholas Stern