Colonizing the aged body and the organization of later life

Paula Hyde, Diane Burns, John Hassard, Anne Killett

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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Based on fieldwork in residential homes, arrangements for the care of older people are examined with reference, primarily, to Deetz’ (1992) theory of ‘corporate colonization’. Extending this theory, it is argued that grouping such people in care homes can result in a form of social segregation, one that reflects the management of the aged body in relation to normative constructions of dependence. Focusing on the experiences of residents, the everyday effects of narratives of decline on disciplining the lives of older people are assessed, with this analysis taking recourse to the work of Foucault (1979). The result is the identification of three related concepts at work in the colonizing process of the aged body: (i) appropriation of the body – the physical and social practices involved in placing older people in care homes; (ii) separation from previous identities – how a range of new subjectivities are produced in the process of becoming a ‘resident’; and (iii) contesting colonized identities – the ways in which residents can attempt to challenge normative concepts of managed physical and mental decline. Overall the disciplining of the body is theorized not only as an adjunct to the notion of corporate colonization but also, more generally, as a prominent and powerful organizing principle of later life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1699-1717
Number of pages19
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Age and ageing
  • corporate colonization
  • disciplinary power
  • organization theory
  • residential care

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