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Using applied phronesis to explore productivism in elderly care policy
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Daniel Teghe
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an example of how applied phronesis can be used as a methodological approach in social research. The example consists of an exploration of the discourse of productivism in elderly care policy in Australia. Design/methodology/approach – The research interrogates arrangements of objective facts within recent representations of the aged which render particular policy discourses rational. An analysis of selected secondary data and texts is offered to demonstrate how applied phronesis may be used to discern when objective facts are presented in particular ways to sustain useful discourses, such as productivism. Findings – The paper demonstrates that, rather than being rational discourse, productivism employs suitable arrangements of objective facts leading to particular rationalisations, including that the elderly should be viewed as a separate “category”, that they are a burden on society and that they contribute to increasing health care costs. Alternative interpretations and arrangements of the same objective facts indicate that what is rendered as rational within the discourse of productivism may also be seen as a construct of power rather than an unavoidable and logical outcome. Research limitations/implications – Because it is intended mainly as a demonstration, this paper offers a limited application of applied phronesis. Originality/value – The research is employed as a practical demonstration of the efficacy of applied phronesis in social research. At the same time, this is the first phronetic exploration of productivism in aged care policy.