‘Grey’ culture

Authored by: Stuart Taberner

The Routledge Handbook of German Politics & Culture

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415686860
eBook ISBN: 9781315747040
Adobe ISBN: 9781317600152


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This chapter focuses on the unprecedented demographic ageing of the German population in the present day. It first sets this rapid demographic transformation in the context of the global trend towards older populations, before turning to some of the specific social and political ramifications of the ‘ageing society’ in the Federal Republic. Subsequently it looks in detail at the ways in which ageing is being debated and represented in film, literature, and other media. In their landmark report ahead of the 2002 ‘World Assembly on Ageing’, researchers from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations (UN) began by placing the greying of the world’s population in its historical perspective:

Population ageing is unprecedented, without parallel in the history of humanity. Increases in the proportions of older persons (60 years or older) are being accompanied by declines in the proportions of the young (under age 15). By 2050, the number of older persons in the world will exceed the number of young for the first time in history. Moreover, by 1998 this historic reversal in relative proportions of young and old had already taken place in the more developed regions.

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