Gender and Representations of Successful Old Age in Rural Bulgaria Cover Image
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Gender and Representations of Successful Old Age in Rural Bulgaria
Gender and Representations of Successful Old Age in Rural Bulgaria

Author(s): Ilia Iliev
Subject(s): Anthropology, Gender Studies, Customs / Folklore, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Culture and social structure
Published by: LIT Verlag
Keywords: ageing; South Bulgaria; men; retirement; socialism;

Summary/Abstract: In this article I demonstrate contrasting images of successful aging for old men in rural Bulgaria. Old men are expected to look for paid occupations outside home after their retirement regardless of their income or savings, while elderly women are pushed towards providing domestic help to younger generations. I will discuss the genealogy of these roles, tracing them to socialist state policies from the 1960s to the 1980s, when two distinct sets of gender images were constituted for younger and older generations – gender equality for new socialist men and women, domesticity and paid jobs for older generations. Finally I will discuss the implications of these gender expectations on elder-care, namely a relatively higher number of old men abandoned by their families in Bulgaria nowadays. The article is based on field research in rural Bulgaria in 2014–2016.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 20
  • Page Range: 121-133
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: English