Wray, Sharon (2010) South Asian women growing older: Social capital and life-course inequalities. In: BSA Annual Conference 2010 - Inequalities & Social Justice, 7th - 9th April 2010, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK. (Unpublished)

This paper is based on a pilot qualitative research study examining the nature and extent of social capital available to older (aged 60+) British South Asian women living in the north of England. A main argument is that South Asian’s women’s experiences of growing older have been overlooked within social gerontology and the sociology of ageing. In particular, the interrelationship of racism, sexism, and ageism remains under theorised. One outcome of this neglect is a lack of theoretical insight into the cumulative effect of life-course inequalities on older South Asian women’s quality of life. The paper builds on the recognition that older women are not a homogenous group but instead have different resources and capital available to them and face different forms of disadvantage and discrimination. The aims of the paper are three-fold. First, to examine how social capital influences and is influenced by personal and social injustices and inequalities, encountered across the life course and in later life. Second, to consider how gender, migrant, and ethnic identities and roles shape South Asian women’s opportunities to develop familial, friendship, and community networks in later life. Third, to problematise the concept of social capital and explore its capacity to explain the experiences of South Asian women, as they grow older.

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