Shifting responsibility in governing aging: municipal active aging discourses in Turkey
This article investigates active aging as a tool of governing the aging population at the municipal level. Using Foucault’s framework of governmentality, it explores the techniques of governing aging via the construction of the desirable older subjectivity, reflecting upon the role of the family in caregiving. Conducting in-depth interviews with municipal officials in charge of aging programs, we illustrated that, despite regional differences in socio-economic development levels connected to urban/modernized and rural/traditional cultural frames, all municipalities in our study embrace active aging in which older people are responsibilized for leading an active life to avoid being a burden on the family. We argue that neoliberal active aging discourses are mobilized to substitute the decreasing welfare function of conservative familialism in Turkey and the individualistic self-technologies are instrumentalized for familialist conducts. This reveals that the coexistence of multiple rationalities in the governing process can unsettle habitual consistencies between problematizations, conducts and self-technologies.