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Ageing populations represent a key global challenge for the twenty-first century. Few areas of life will remain untouched by the accompanying changes to cultural, economic and social life. This book interrogates various understandings of ageing, and provides a critical assessment of attitudes and responses to the development of ageing societies, placing these in the context of a variety of historical and sociological debates. Written in a highly accessible style, this book examines a range of topics, including demographic change across high- and low-income countries, theories of social ageing, changing definitions of 'age', retirement trends, family and intergenerational relations, poverty and inequality, and health and social care in later life. The book also considers the key steps necessary in preparing for the social transformation which population ageing will bring. Ageing provides a fresh and original approach to a topic of central concern to students and scholars working in sociology, social policy and wider social science disciplines and the humanities.