Dissertation Abstracts

The representations of old-age in Slovene daily newspapers

Author: Otto Gerdina, otto.gerdina@fdv.uni-lj.si
Department: Faculty of Social Sciences
University: University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Supervisor: Slavko Kurdija and Roman Kuhar
Year of completion: 2022
Language of dissertation: Slovenian

Keywords: media representation , old age , content analysis , ageism
Areas of Research: Political Sociology


Contemporary demographic, social, and economic trends stimulate the interest of social and cultural gerontology in exploring the nature and potential influences of media representations of old age. Media representations of old age are of special importance for social scientists because they are related to social relations and reflect the structure of society and its values. So far, there has been no research that would examine how media representations of old age change over time and affect society's attitude towards the older people in Slovenia. In order to gain understanding of the social construction of old age and related trends in the early twenty-first century we implemented longitudinal study, which encompassed the 2004-2018 election years. First, we analyzed coverage of topics related to old age on a sample size of 3,800 articles collected from the three printed daily newspapers Delo, Slovenske novice and Vecer using quantitative content analysis. Further we selected a purposeful sample of articles of the daily newspaper Delo and analyzed the newspaper coverage of social problems that people face in old age and related solutions using qualitative content analysis. Our results showed that in the election years from 2004 to 2018, the political and economic aspects of aging were most prominent in daily newspapers, and that social sensitivity to age-related topics increased in the analyzed period. Our findings further revealed that three principles related to ageism prevail in the representation of older people: normalization, differentiation, and homogenization. Moreover, findings of our study indicate, that most problems and solutions in the newspaper are reported by representatives of the state and interest groups. In contrast to other studies of media representations, our inquiry did not confirm the trend of individualizing responsibility for the problems of older people.