Identifying ageism within australian local government physical activity policy: a critical discourse analysis

Michael Butson, Ruth Jeanes, Justen O'Connor

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This research aims to identify ageist content concerning older adults within local government physical activity policy. Policies are not passive texts; they can comprise hidden or disputed connotations. To identify ageism, the study utilizes a critical discourse analysis approach to analyze physical activity policy documents (n = 61) from 16 local government areas in Victoria, Australia, and the perceptions of local government employees trusted with developing these policies, which were gathered during semistructured interviews (n = 11). Results from the critical discourse analysis indicate that local government policies are imbued with ageism, leading to the construction and perpetuation of various stereotypes of older adults. The discourse analysis points to potentially ageist descriptions including older adults being vulnerable, incapable, and a financial burden. Nonetheless, older adults were also revealed to be significant contributors to the community including in paid employment, caregiving roles, and volunteering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • economic burden
  • incapable
  • older adults
  • stereotyping

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