‘Young at heart’: discourses of age identity in travel agency interaction
This paper examines, through discourse analysis at a micro level, how age identities become interactionally constructed through talk. After a brief overview of the constructivist arguments, the focus is on a single-case interaction between an older client couple and three travel agency assistants. The various means by which age is made salient by the participants and the ensuing age identities that are created for and by the couple in particular are investigated. The images of the ‘elderly’ as portrayed in holiday brochures, providing one dimension of the context of this encounter and being significant in older travellers' self-identity construction, are also looked at. It is argued that discourse analysis has a useful contribution to make in social gerontology in that it can illuminate the interactive processes through which ageing and old age can be defined.(Accepted July 29 1998)
Key Words: age identity; discourse analysis; travel industry; images of older people.
c1 Address for correspondence: Virpi Ylänne-McEwen, Centre for Language and Communication Research, PO Box 94, University of Wales, Cardiff, CF10 3XB; e-mail: email@example.com