Portrait of Professor Julia Twigg

Professor Julia Twigg

Professor of Social Policy and Sociology


Professor Twigg’s first degree was in History from the University of Durham followed by MSc and PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics. She joined the teaching department at Kent in 1996. Previously, she had worked in the Social Policy department of the University of Hull, the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of York, and the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), University of Kent.

Professor Twigg’s research is part of a growing interest in the cultural constitution of later years, exemplified in the rise of cultural gerontology. With Wendy Martin, she edited 'The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology'

Her earlier work addressed issues of health and social care. She has argued for the recognition of carework as a form of bodywork, and published  'The Body in Health and Social Care' (Palgrave). 

Research interests

Professor Julia Twigg’s research focuses on embodiment and age. Over the last decade she has been engaged in a series of research projects exploring the role of dress in the constitution of age. The first of these, funded by ESRC, looked at women and dress, and was published as 'Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life' (Bloomsbury). The second, undertaken with Dr Christina Buse and funded by ESRC, explored the role of dress in supporting the embodied personhood of people with dementia. The third, funded by Leverhulme Trust, extends the analysis to older men. All three studies are concerned with the ways in which dress and age intersect, and the role of the concrete materiality of clothing in the expression of social identities.   

Professor Twigg has a particular interest in the body in social care and in 2000 published an analysis of the provision of personal care. She has written on informal or family based care, particular in relation to the presence or otherwise of support for carers and its effectiveness, and on the history and ideology of vegetarianism in Britain in the nineteenth end twentieth centuries. She has contributed to an historical analysis of Modern Asceticism that encompasses food practices. She is interested in obesity and eating disorders, the control of the body and food, and food and older people.


Professor Twigg teaches a variety of subjects across the school. Her specialist areas include 'The Social Politics of Food' and 'Social Care'.


Professor Twigg  would be particularly interested in supervising studies on the following:

  • Older men and clothing 
  • Aesthetic labour at work: age discrimination, and the management of appearance through clothing at work for 50+ 
  • Role of institutional dress in relation to long stay faculties in the past for both older and disabled people, a historical study 
  • Ethnographic study of the role of clothing within long term care facilities 
  • Ethnographic study of food in care institutions 
  • Work on design of clothing for older people 
  • Hairdressing and appearance in relation to older women 
  • Clothing and death.



  • Joint convener of BSA Study Group Ageing, Body and Society. 
  • Editorial board member of Journal of Social Policy
  • Editorial board member of Ageing & Society
  • Editorial board member of Journal of Aging Studies
  • Editorial board member of International Journal of Ageing and Later Life

Recent speaking engagement

Think Kent lecture videos


Showing 50 of 61 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Twigg, J., Buse, C., Nettleton, S. and Martin, D. (2018). Dirty linen, liminal spaces and later life: Meanings of laundry in care home design and practice. Sociological Research Online [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1360780418780037.
    This paper explores the design and practice of laundries and laundry work in care home settings. This is an often-overlooked aspect of the care environment, yet one that shapes lived experiences and meanings of care. It draws on ethnographic and qualitative data from two UK based Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded studies: Buildings in the Making, a study of architects designing care homes for later life, and Dementia and Dress, a project exploring the role of clothing in dementia care. Drawing together these studies, the paper explores the temporality and spatiality of laundry work, contrasting designers’ conceptions of laundry in terms of flows, movement and efficiency with the lived bodily reality of laundry work, governed by the messiness of care and ‘body time’. The paper examines how laundry is embedded within the meanings and imaginaries of the care home as a ‘home’ or ‘hotel’, and exposes the limitations of these imaginaries. We explore the significance of laundry work for supporting identity, as part of wider assemblages of care. The article concludes by drawing out implications for architectural design and sociological conceptions of care.
  • Twigg, J. (2018). Dress, Gender and the Embodiment of Age: Men and Masculinities. Ageing & Society [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X18000892.
    The study explores the role of clothing in the constitution of embodied masculinity in age, contrasting its results with an earlier study of women. It draws four main conclusions. First that men’s responses to dress were marked by continuity both with their younger selves and with mainstream masculinity, of which they still felt themselves to be part. Age was less a point of challenge or change than for many women. Second, men’s responses were less affected by cultural codes in relation to age. Dress was not, by and large, seen through the lens of age; and there was not the sense of cultural exile that had marked many of the women’s responses. Third, for some older men dress could be part of wider moral engagement, expressive of values linked positively to age, embodying old fashioned values that endorsed their continuing value as older men. Lastly dress in age reveals some of the ways in which men retain aspects of earlier gender privilege. The study was based on qualitative interviews with 24 men aged 58-85, selected to display a range in terms of social class, occupation, sexuality, employment and relationship status. It forms part of the wider intellectual movement of cultural gerontology that aims to expand the contexts in which we explore later years; and contributes to a new focus on materiality within sociology.
  • Buse, C. and Twigg, J. (2018). Dressing disrupted: negotiating care through the materiality of dress in the context of dementia. Sociology of Health and Illness [Online] 40:340-352. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12575.
    This paper explores how the materiality of dress mediates and shapes practices of care in the context of dementia. Earlier research called for an approach to conceptualising care that recognised the role played by everyday artefacts. We extend this to a consideration of dress and dressing the body in relation to people with dementia that involves the direct manipulation of material objects, as well as the materiality of bodies. The paper draws on an ESRC funded study Dementia and Dress, which examined experiences of dress for people with dementia, families and care-workers using ethnographic and qualitative methods. Our analysis explores the process of dressing the body, the physicality of guiding and manipulating bodies into clothing, dealing with fabrics and bodies which ‘act back’ and are resistant to the process of dressing. We consider how the materiality of clothing can constrain or enable practices of care, exploring tensions between garments that support ease of dressing and those that sustain identity. Examining negotiations around dress also reveals tensions between competing ‘logics’ of care (Mol 2008).
  • Twigg, J. (2018). Fashion, the Media and Age: How Women’s Magazines Use Fashion to Negotiate Age Identities. European Journal of Cultural Studies [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367549417708432.
    The article explores the role of women’s magazines in the negotiation of later life identities, focussing on the treatment of fashion and dress. It locates the analysis in debates about the changing nature of later years with the emergence of Third Age identities, and the role of consumption in these. Focussed on the treatment of fashion and age, it analyses four UK magazines: three chosen to represent the older market (Woman & Home, Saga, Yours), and one to represent mainstream fashion (Vogue). It is based on interviews with four editors and analysis of the content of the magazines. The article analyses the media strategies that journalists use to negotiate tensions in the presentation of fashion for this group and their role in supporting new formations of age.
  • Buse, C., Nettleton, S., Martin, D. and Twigg, J. (2017). Imagined Bodies: architects and their constructions of later life. Ageing and Society [Online] 37:1435-1457. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X16000362.
    This article comprises a sociological analysis of how architects imagine the ageing body when designing residential care homes for later life and the extent to which they engage empathetically with users. Drawing on interviews with architectural professionals based in the United Kingdom, we offer insight into the ways in which architects envisage the bodies of those who they anticipate will populate their buildings. Deploying the notions of ‘body work’ and ‘the body multiple’, our analysis reveals how architects imagined a variety of bodies in nuanced ways. These imagined bodies emerge as they talked through the practicalities of the design process. Moreover, their conceptions of bodies were also permeated by prevailing ideologies of caring: although we found that they sought to resist dominant discourses of ageing, they nevertheless reproduced these discourses. Architects’ constructions of bodies are complicated by the collaborative nature of the design process, where we find an incessant juggling between the competing demands of multiple stakeholders, each of whom anticipate other imagined bodies and seek to shape the design of buildings to meet their requirements. Our findings extend a nascent sociological literature on architecture and social care by revealing how architects participate in the shaping of care for later life as ‘body workers’, but also how their empathic aspirations can be muted by other imperatives driving the marketisation of care.
  • Campbell, S., Buse, C., Twigg, J., Keady, J. and Ward, R. (2015). Appearance matters: it’s integral to our sense of self. The Journal of Dementia Care 23:20-23.
    A multi-sensory appearance biography is an exploration of a person's life-story focused on appearance which uses visual and sensory props such as clothing, jewellery, beauty products, or photographs to support story telling. This article describes what is involved in this new approach to life-story work and how it can be integrated into dementia care. It focuses on four aspects in detail: appearance signatures, routines and rituals; telling stories through everyday objects; appearance and social interactions - sharing stories; and balancing continuity with change. (Edited publisher abstract)
  • Martin, D., Nettleton, S., Buse, C., Prior, L. and Twigg, J. (2015). Architecture, embodiment and health care: a place for sociology. Sociology of Health & Illness [Online] 37:1007-1022. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12284.
    Sociologists of health and illness have tended to overlook health care architecture and buildings. This contrasts with medical geographers who have yielded a body of work on the significance of places and spaces in the experience of health and illness. A review of those sociological studies that have studied the role of the built environment in the performance of medical practice uncovers an important vein of work, worthy of further study. Through the historically situated example of hospital architecture, this article seeks to tease out substantive and methodological issues that can inform a distinctive sociology of health care architecture. Contemporary health care buildings manifest design models developed for hotels, shopping malls and homes. These design features are congruent with neo-liberal forms of subjectivity in which patients are constituted as consumers and responsibilised citizens. We conclude that an adequate sociology of health care architecture necessitates an appreciation of both the construction and experience of buildings, exploring the briefs and plans of their designers, and observing their everyday uses. Combining approaches and methods from the sociology of health and illness and science and technology studies offers potential for a novel research agenda that takes health care buildings as its substantive focus.
  • Buse, C. and Twigg, J. (2015). Clothing, embodied identity and dementia: maintaining the self through dress. Age, Culture, Humanities.
    Clothes are central to how we perform our identities. In this article, we show how these processes continue to operate in the lives of people with dementia, exploring the ways in which dress offers a means of maintaining continuity of self at a material, embodied level. The article thus contributes to the wider cultural turn in aging studies, showing how material objects are significant in meaning-making, even for this mentally frail group. The article draws on the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded study “Dementia and Dress,” which examined the implications of clothing for people with dementia, carers, and care workers, using ethnographic and qualitative methods. It showed, despite assumptions to the contrary, that dress remained significant for people with dementia, continuing to underwrite identity at both the individual level of a personal aesthetic and the social level of structural categories, such as class, gender, and generation. The article explores how identity is performed through dress in social interaction, and the tensions that can arise between narrative and embodied enactment, and around the “curation” of identity. Dress provides a lens for understanding the lives of people with dementia, while at the same time, focusing on dementia expands discussions of fashion, consumption, and cultural meanings of aging.1
  • Buse, C. and Twigg, J. (2015). Materialising memories : exploring the stories of people with dementia through dress. Ageing & Society [Online]:1-21. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X15000185.
    In this article, we use clothes as a tool for exploring the life stories and narratives of
    people with dementia, eliciting memories through the sensory and material dimensions
    of dress. The article draws on an Economic and Social Research Councilfunded
    study, ‘Dementia and Dress’, which explored everyday experiences of clothing
    for carers, care workers and people with dementia, using qualitative and ethnographic
    methods including: ‘wardrobe interviews’, observations, and visual and sensory
    approaches. In our analysis, we use three dimensions of dress as a device for exploring
    the experiences of people with dementia: kept clothes, as a way of retaining connections
    to memories and identity; discarded clothes, and their implications for understanding
    change and loss in relation to the ‘dementia journey’; and absent clothes, invoked
    through the sensory imagination, recalling images of former selves, and carrying identity
    forward into the context of care. The article contributes to understandings of narrative,
    identity and dementia, drawing attention to the potential ofmaterial objects for
    evoking narratives, and maintaining biographical continuity for both men and
    women. The paper has larger implications for understandings of ageing and care practice;
    as well as contributing to the wider Material Turn in gerontology, showing how
    cultural analyses can be applied even to frail older groups who are often excluded
    from such approaches.
  • Martin, D., Nettleton, S., Buse, C., Prior, L. and Twigg, J. (2015). Architecture and health care: a place for sociology. Sociology of Health and Illness [Online] 37:1007-1022. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12284.
    Sociologists of health and illness have tended to overlook the architecture and
    buildings used in health care. This contrasts with medical geographers who have
    yielded a body of work on the significance of places and spaces in the experience
    of health and illness. A review of sociological studies of the role of the built
    environment in the performance of medical practice uncovers an important vein of
    work, worthy of further study. Through the historically situated example of
    hospital architecture, this article seeks to tease out substantive and methodological
    issues that can inform a distinctive sociology of healthcare architecture.
    Contemporary healthcare buildings manifest design models developed for hotels,
    shopping malls and homes. These design features are congruent with neoliberal
    forms of subjectivity in which patients are constituted as consumers and
    responsibilised citizens. We conclude that an adequate sociology of healthcare
    architecture necessitates an appreciation of both the construction and experience of
    buildings, exploring the briefs and plans of their designers, and observing their
    everyday uses. Combining approaches and methods from the sociology of health
    and illness and science and technology studies offers potential for a novel research
    agenda that takes healthcare buildings as its substantive focus.
  • Twigg, J. (2015). Dress and age: the intersection of life and work. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life [Online] 10:55-67. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.15-55.
    In this article I outline the influences, intellectual and personal, that have led me to the subject of dress and age, a topic that I have explored with great enjoyment over the last decade. These have their roots in earlier academic and personal interests, and one of the aims of the article is to show how these different spheres of life and work intersect. I discuss this under three broad headings: intellectual and academic influences; longterm personal interests, particularly in history and the aesthetics of dress;
    and the impact of becoming an older woman.
  • Buse, C. and Twigg, J. (2014). Women with Dementia and their handbags: Negotiating identity, privacy and "home" through material culture. Journal of Aging Studies [Online] 30:14-22. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2014.03.002.
    The article analyses the role of handbags in the everyday lives of women with dementia. Drawing on findings from an ESRC funded UK study ‘Dementia and Dress’, it shows how handbags are significant to supporting the identities of women with dementia as ‘biographical’ and ‘memory’ objects, both in terms of the bags themselves, and the objects they contain. This is particularly so during the transition to care homes, where previous aspects of identity and social roles may be lost. Handbags are also significant to making personal or private space within care settings. However, dementia can heighten women's ambivalent relationship to their handbags, which can become a source of anxiety as ‘lost objects’, or may be viewed as problematic or ‘unruly’. Handbags may also be adapted or discarded due to changing bodies, lifestyles and the progression of dementia.
  • Twigg, J. and Majima, S. (2014). Consumption and the constitution of age: expenditure patterns of clothing, hair and cosmetics among the post war "baby boomers". Journal of Aging Studies [Online] 30:23-32. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2014.03.003.
    The article addresses debates around the changing nature of old age, using UK data on spending on dress and related aspects of appearance by older women to explore the potential role of consumption in the reconstitution of aged identities. Based on pseudo-cohort analysis of Family Expenditures Survey, it compares spending patterns on clothing, cosmetics and hairdressing, 1961–2011. It concludes that there is little evidence for the ‘baby boomers’ as a strategic or distinctive generation. There is evidence, however, for increased engagement by older women in aspects of appearance: shopping for clothes more frequently; more involved in the purchase of cosmetics; and women over 75 are now the most frequent attenders at hairdressers. The roots of these patterns, however, lie more in period than cohort effects, and in the role of producer-led developments such as mass cheap fashion and the development of anti-ageing products.
  • Buse, C. and Twigg, J. (2014). Looking out of place: analysing the spatial and symbolic meanings of dementia care setting through dress. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life [Online] 9:69-95. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.20149169.
    The article explores how clothing exposes – and troubles – the ambiguous location of care homes on the boundaries of public/private, home/institutional space. It deploys a material analysis of the symbolic uses and meanings of dress, extending the remit of the new cultural gerontology to encompass the “fourth age,” and the lives of older people with dementia. The article draws on an ESRC-funded study “Dementia and Dress,” conducted in the United Kingdom (UK), which explored everyday experiences of clothing for people with dementia, carers and careworkers, using ethnographic and qualitative methods. Careworkers and managers were keen to emphasise the “homely” nature of care homes, yet this was sometimes at odds with the desire to maintain presentable and orderly bodies, and with institutional routines of bodywork. Residents’ use of clothing could disrupt boundaries of public/private space, materialising a sense of not being “at home,” and a desire to return there.
  • Twigg, J. and Martin, W. (2014). The Challenge of Cultural Gerontology. Gerontologist [Online] 55:353-359. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnu061.
    Over the last decade, Cultural Gerontology has emerged as one of the most vibrant elements of writing about age (Twigg, J., & Martin, W. (Eds.) (2015). The Routledge handbook of cultural gerontology. London: Routledge). Reflecting the wider Cultural Turn, it has expanded the field of gerontology beyond all recognition. No longer confined to frailty, or the dominance of medical and social welfare perspectives, cultural gerontology addresses the nature and experience of later years in the widest sense. In this review, we will explore how the Cultural Turn, which occurred across the social sciences and humanities in the late 20th century, came to influence age studies. We will analyze the impulses that led to the emergence of the field and the forces that have inhibited or delayed its development. We will explore how cultural gerontology has recast aging studies, widening its theoretical and substantive scope, taking it into new territory intellectually and politically, presenting this in terms of 4 broad themes that characterize the work: subjectivity and identity; the body and embodiment; representation and the visual; and time and space. Finally, we will briefly address whether there are problems in the approach.
  • Twigg, J. and Buse, C. (2013). Dress, dementia and the embodiment of identity. Dementia [Online] 12:326-336. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1471301213476504.
    The article explores the significance of dress in the embodied experience of dementia, exploring questions of identity, memory and relationship. It suggests that clothing and dress are important in the analysis of the day-to-day experiences of people with dementia, giving access to dimensions of selfhood often ignored in over-cognitive accounts of being. As a result clothing and dress can be significant to the provision of person-centred dementia care. These arguments are explored through ideas of embodied identity, the materialisation of memories, and the maintenance, or otherwise, of appearance in care. The article forms part of the background to an ESRC-funded empirical study exploring the role of clothing and dress in the everyday lives of people with dementia, living at home or in care homes, and of their relatives.
  • Twigg, J. (2012). Adjusting the cut: fashion, the body and age in the UK high street. Ageing and Society [Online] 32:1030-1054. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X11000754.
    The article explores the interplay between bodily and cultural ageing in the provision of clothing for older women, examining how design directors of UK clothing retailers act as cultural mediators, shaping the ways in which later years are imagined, experienced and performed at an embodied level. Based on interviews with clothing retailers with a significant involvement with the older market: Marks & Spencer, George at Asda, Jaeger, Viyella and Edinburgh Woollen Mill, it analyses the contexts in which they design, discussing: the potential of the grey market; the association of fashion and youthfulness; and the tensions between lifestyle and age in the formation of the market. It explores the ways in which they adjust the cut, colour and style of clothes to meet the requirements of older bodies and the changing cultural interpretations of these, addressing debates around the interplay of bodily and cultural ageing, and the role of consumption in the constitution of age. Reflecting both the cultural and material turns, it argues for the need to expand the social gerontology imaginary to encompass wider sources shaping the meanings of later years.
  • Twigg, J., Wolkowitz, C., Cohen, R. and Nettleton, S. (2011). Conceptualising body work in health and social care. Sociology of Health & Illness [Online] 33:171-188. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2010.01323.x.
    Body work is a central activity in the practice of many workers in the field of health and social care. This article provides an introduction to the concept of body work - paid work on the bodies of others - and demonstrates its importance for understanding the activities of health and social care workers. Providing an overview of existing research on body work, it shows the manifold ways in which this can inform the sociology of health and illness - whether through a micro-social focus on the inter-corporeal aspects of work in health and social care, or through elucidating our understanding of the times and spaces of work, or through highlighting the relationship between mundane body work and the increasingly global movements of bodies, workers and those worked-upon. The article shows how understanding work undertaken on the bodies of others as 'body work' provides a mechanism for relating work in the sphere of health and social care to that in other sectors, opening up new avenues for research.
  • Twigg, J. (2010). How does Vogue negotiate age?: fashion, the body and the older woman. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture [Online] 14:471-490. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175174110X12792058833898.
    This article addresses the role played by clothing and fashion in the constitution of age, exploring the changing ways in which aging is experienced, understood, and imagined in modern culture through an analysis of the responses of UK Vogue. As a high fashion journal, Voguefocuses on youth; age and aging represent a disruption of its cultural field. How it negotiates this issue is relevant to both students of fashion and of age. Older women in Vogueonly feature sporadically, and predominantly in ways that dilute or efface their age. The current ideal is one of “Ageless Style” and cultural integration. But this has not always been the case. In the 1950s UK Vogueregularly featured a distinctly older women in the form of the fictional Mrs Exeter. No such figure appears—or could appear—today, and this article explores the reasons behind this, in the changing social and cultural location of older people in contemporary consumption culture.
  • Twigg, J. (2010). Welfare embodied: The materiality of hospital dress: A commentary on Topo and Iltanen-Tähkävuori. Social Science and Medicine [Online] 70:1690-1692. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.01.043.
  • Twigg, J. (2010). Clothing and dementia: A neglected dimension?. Journal of Aging Studies [Online] 24:223-230. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2010.05.002.
    The article explores the neglected subject of clothing and dementia. Addressing questions of the body, identity and selfhood, it argues – against the dominant understanding – that clothes continue to be significant in the lives and wellbeing of people with dementia. Drawing on new theorising that emphasises the embodied nature of selfhood, the article explores the role of clothing in the maintenance of identity; its nature as the ‘environment closest in’; its significance in social interaction; and its potential character as an agent of control and normativity. The article concludes that clothing and dress offer a potentially interesting field in which we can explore the nature of personhood in dementia, and in ways that offer insights into forms of response through which individuality and selfhood can be recognised, maintained and enhanced.
  • Twigg, J. (2008). Clothing, aging and me - Routes to research. Journal of Aging Studies [Online] 22:158-162. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2007.12.010.
    This essay describes the influences, academic and personal, that led the author to her current research interest in clothing and older women.
  • Twigg, J. (2007). Clothing, age and the body: A critical review. Ageing & Society 27:285-305.
    Clothes are central to the ways older bodies are experienced, presented and understood within culture, so that dress forms a significant, though neglected, element in the constitution and experience of old age. Drawing on a range of secondary literature, the article traces how clothing intersects with three key debates in social gerontology: concerning the body, identity and agency. It examines the part played by clothing in the expression of social difference, exploring the role of age ordering in determining the dress choices of older people, and its enforcement through moral discourses that discipline the bodies of older people. Dress is, however, also an arena for the expression of identity and exercise of agency, and the article discusses how far older people are able to use clothing to resist or redefine the dominant meanings of age. Lastly it addresses questions of the changing cultural location of older people, and the role of consumer culture in the production of Third Age identities.
  • Twigg, J. (2004). The body, gender and age: feminist insights in social gerontology. Journal of Aging Studies 18:59-73.
  • Twigg, J. (2002). The body in social policy: mapping a territory. Journal of Social Policy [Online] 31:421-440. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279402006645.
  • Twigg, J. (2000). Carework as a form of bodywork. Ageing and Society 20:389-411.
    The paper argues for the importance of recognising carework as a form of bodywork. It discusses why this central dimension has been neglected in accounts of carework, pointing to the ways in which community care has traditionally been analysed, the resistance of social gerontology to an overly bodily emphasis, and the conceptual dominance of the debate on care. Drawing on a study of the provision of help with bathing and washing for older people at home, it explores the body dimension of the activity, looking at how careworkers negotiate nakedness and touch, manage dirt and disgust, balance intimacy and distance. Finally, the paper draws together some of the key themes of this bodywork: its designation as 'dirty work', its hidden, silenced character, the low occupational esteem in which it is held and its gendered nature.
  • Twigg, J. (1999). Bathing the body: Giving and receiving intimate care at home. Zeitschrift Fur Gerontologie Und Geriatrie 32:218-218.


  • Twigg, J. (2013). Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life. [Online]. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. Available at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/fashion-and-age-9781472520128/.
    Throughout history certain forms and styles of dress have been deemed appropriate - or more significantly, inappropriate - for people as they age. Older women in particular have long been subject to social pressure to tone down, to adopt self-effacing, covered-up styles. But increasingly there are signs of change, as older women aspire to younger, more mainstream, styles, and retailers realize the potential of the 'grey market'. Fashion and Age is the first study to systematically explore the links between clothing and age, drawing on fashion theory and cultural gerontology to examine the changing ways in which age is imagined, experienced and understood in modern culture through the medium of dress. Clothes lie between the body and its social expression, and the book explores the significance of embodiment in dress and in the cultural constitution of age. Drawing on the views of older women, journalists and fashion editors, and clothing designers and retailers, it aims to widen the agenda of fashion studies to encompass the everyday dress of the majority, shifting the debate about age away from its current preoccupation with dependency, towards a fuller account of the lived experience of age. Fashion and Age will be of great interest to students of fashion, material culture, sociology, sociology of age, history of dress and to clothing designers.
  • Twigg, J. (2006). The Body in Health and Social Care. Andersson, L. ed. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Focusing on health and social care, this book shows how important the body can be to a range of issues such as disability, old age, sexuality, consumption, food and public space. Twigg illustrates how constructions of the body affect how we see different social groups and explores the significance of it in the provision and delivery of care.
  • Twigg, J. (2001). Bathing - the Body and Community Care. London: Taylor and Francis.
    This book examines the work of a major employment group within the health and welfare field. It relates to debates on the body and issues associated with disability, personal space and autonomy and the power of dynamics of care.

    Community care lies at the intersection of day-to-day life and the public world of service provision. Using the lens of one particular activity - bathing - this book explores what happens when the public world of professionals and service provision enters the lives of older and disabled people. In doing so it addresses wider issues concerning the management of the body, the meaning of carework and the significance of body care in the ordering of daily life. Bathing - the Body and Community Care provides an engaging text for students and will be of interest to a wide range of audiences, both social science and health science students and nursing and allied professionals.

Book section

  • Twigg, J. and Martin, W. (2015). The field of cultural gerontology: an introduction. In: Twigg, J. and Martin, W. eds. The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge, pp. 1-16. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415631143.
  • Twigg, J. (2015). Dress and Age. In: Twigg, J. and Martin, W. eds. The Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge, pp. 149-156. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415631143.
    The chapter addresses the role of clothing and dress in the constitution of age. Clothes are central to how identity is performed at an embodied level. This is true not just of social categorisations such as gender, class and ethnicity, but also age. The chapter explores age ordering in dress, and asks if the dominance of this long familiar pattern has lessened with the changing cultural location of older people in western societies, and the wider impact of consumption culture. It addresses the interplay between the body and dress, exploring the intersections between bodily and cultural ageing.
  • Twigg, J. (2014). Clothing, identity, embodiment and age. In: McCann, J. and Bryson, D. eds. Textile - Led Design for the Active Ageing Population. Cambridge: Woodhead, pp. 13-22. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-85709-538-1.00002-X.
    Design for the older market needs to be set in the context of the broader meanings of dress in relation to age within the wider clothing code. In this chapter, I will explore the links between clothing and the social expression of age, looking in particular at the tradition of age ordering in dress. There is evidence that this ordering has begun to erode, or has at least taken on different form in recent years. The movement to more casual dress that includes walking and exercise clothes is part of this. The chapter reviews arguments for this erosion, drawing on an empirical study of clothing and dress for older women. The chapter explores the significance of the baby boomer cohort and their adoption of casual dress.
  • Twigg, J. (2013). Fashion, the body and age. In: Black, S., De la Hay, A., Entwistle, J., Rocamora, A., Root, R. A. and Thomas, H. eds. The Handbook of Fashion Studies. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, pp. 78-94.
  • Twigg, J. (2012). Fashion and age : the role of women’s magazines in the constitution of aged identities. In: Ylanne, V. ed. Representing Ageing: Images and Identities. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 132-146.
  • Twigg, J. (2011). Modern asceticism and contemporary body culture. In: Van Molle, L., Wils, K. and Peeters, E. eds. Beyond Pleasure: Cultures of Modern Asceticism. Berghahn Books.
  • Twigg, J. (2009). Clothing, identity and the embodiment of age. In: Powell, J. and Gilbert, T. eds. Aging Identity: A Dialogue With Postmodernism. Nova Science Publishers Inc, pp. 93-104.
  • Twigg, J. (2003). The Body and Bathing: Help with Personal Care at Home. In: Fairclough, C. A. ed. Aging Bodies: Images and Everyday Experience. Altamira Press, pp. 143-169. Available at: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780759116153/Aging-Bodies-Images-and-Everyday-Experience.
  • Twigg, J. (2002). The bodywork of care. In: Andersson, L. ed. Cultural Gerontology. Westport CT: Greenwood.

Conference or workshop item

  • Forrester-Jones, R., Barnoux, M. and Twigg, J. (2016). Memories, moments and mannequins: the changing world of learning disability. In: Social Policy Association Annual Conference 2016.
  • Forrester-Jones, R., Barnoux, M. and Twigg, J. (2016). Clothes and Fashion and people with ID. In: International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities World Congress. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 782-782.

Edited book

  • Twigg, J. and Martin, W. eds. (2015). The Handbook of Cultural Gerontology. [Online]. Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415631143.
    Later years are changing under the impact of demographic, social and cultural shifts. No longer confined to the sphere of social welfare, they are now studied within a wider cultural framework that encompasses new experiences and new modes of being. Drawing on influences from the arts and humanities, and deploying diverse methodologies – visual, literary, spatial – and theoretical perspectives Cultural Gerontology has brought new aspects of later life into view. This major new publication draws together these currents including: Theory and Methods; Embodiment; Identities and Social Relationships; Consumption and Leisure; and Time and Space. Based on specially commissioned chapters by leading international authors, the Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology will provide concise authoritative reviews of the key debates and themes shaping this exciting new field.
  • Twigg, J., Wolkowitz, C., Cohen, R.L. and Nettleton, S. eds. (2011). Body Work in Health and Social Care: Critical Themes, New Agendas. [Online]. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Available at: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Body-Work-Health-Social-Care-Julia-Twigg/9781444349870.
    The first book to fully explore the multiple ways in which body work features in health and social care and the meanings of this work both for those employed to do it and those on whose bodies they work.
    The first book to fully explore the multiple ways in which body work features in health and social care and the meanings of this work both for those employed to do it and those on whose bodies they work. * Explores the commonalities between different sectors of work, including those outside health and social care * Contributions come from an international range of experts * Draws on perspectives from across the medical, therapeutic, and care fields * Incorporates a variety of methodological approaches, from life history analysis to ethnographic studies and first person accounts.


  • Alaszewski, A., Baldock, J., Billings, J., Coxon, K. and Twigg, J. (2003). Providing Integrated Health and Social Care for Older Persons in the United Kingdom. Centre for Health Services Studies.
    This report provides an overview of the development of integrated health and social care provision for older people in the UK. It explore why integration is important, identifies the main impediments to effective integration, considers failed past attempts and current initiatives designed to promote joined-up thinking and seamless care for older people, identifying the main models.

Research report (external)

  • Forrester-Jones, R., Barnoux, M. and Twigg, J. (2015). Memories, Moments and Mannequins: The Changing World of Learning Disability - Summary Findings. University of Kent in collaboration with East Kent Mencap.


  • Twigg, J. (2008). A Caring Society? Care and the Dilemmas of Human Service in the 21st Century. Ageing and Society [Online] 28:135-137. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0144686x07006514.


  • Henwood, M. (2015). Shifting Sands: Contested Boundaries in Adult Social Care.
    In this thesis I present a narrative that describes and analyses the contested and moving boundaries in adult social care through the lens of three enduring themes: the health and social care interface; hospital discharge and NHS continuing health care; and eligibility for adult social care. The thesis draws upon a range of my published work undertaken from 2002-2011, and this in turn reflects a wider body of work undertaken from the 1980s onwards. The thesis is developed from my work which comes from a distinctive model of independent research and analysis, combining original empirical fieldwork and evaluation with detailed policy analysis and commentary. The publications are principally derived from research studies and evaluations commissioned from me by the Department of Health; by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), and by the Putting People First Consortium and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

    This thesis examines the problematic boundaries between adult social care (particularly in the care of older people), and the NHS which have been in evidence since the creation of the two systems, and the extent to which these boundaries are contested and fluid over time. I argue that the location of the boundary is of great significance because of the consequences not merely for respective organisational responsibilities and budgets, but also - importantly - for individual service users and their families.

    The thesis was written on the cusp of the introduction of major legislation in social care, with the Care Act 2014 due for phased implementation from April 2015. It is an opportune moment to consider how and to what extent the Act offers the prospect of stabilising the shifting sands of the landscape of adult social care.
  • Peet, J. (2014). The Influence of Social Location on the Experience of Early Dementia.
    This thesis investigates the intersections of social class and gender with the early dementia experience. 20 older people with a likely dementia diagnosis were recruited from memory clinic referrals. Unstructured interviews were conducted in the person’s home in the liminal space between referral and formal diagnosis and were analysed using interpretative phenomenological traditions.
    Drawing on Bourdieusian concepts of habitus and capital allowed a nuanced and complex understanding of meaning creation to be explored. Understandings and meanings of memory loss and dementia were conceptualised by participants in terms of biographical flow and expectations of ageing. Prior experience of dementia caring roles promoted earlier help seeking behaviour, whilst attitudes towards classifying dementia as a mental or
    physical illness, was a powerful instigator of uncertainty in meaning. The desire to reduce stigma prompted avoidance coping mechanisms in terms of physical withdrawal, and social and mental distancing from potentially challenging situations, and reinterpretation of cognitive limitations. These responses were simultaneously shaped and defended by a sense of a life lived and personal biography, whilst the level of challenge to biographical flow was directly related to the meaning attributed to memory loss.
    These findings uphold the view that dementia is not universally understood as a wholly devastating illness by those experiencing memory loss, and that services need to take account of personal biography and the level of interruption to biographical flow in assessing the meaning making related to memory loss. ‘One size’ of memory service, does not ‘fit all’.
  • Darton, R. (2014). The Changing Landscape of Residential Care: Care Homes and Alternative Forms of Housing With Care.
    This thesis draws together a series of publications that were based on research studies conducted between 1981 and 2011, covering care homes and alternative forms of housing with care. The majority of the studies were funded by the Department of Health or its predecessors, and were aimed at responding to policy issues, particularly for local authority grant funding. However, the funding provided the opportunity to collect information for broader purposes, and a central feature linking the studies was the collection, as far as possible, of consistent information about the characteristics of residents over time. The thesis includes 12 pieces of work, based on information collected in ten studies, and illustrates the changes in care home provision from 1981 onwards, and the potential role of alternative forms of housing with care.

    The aim of the thesis is to explore the following themes: the changing role of care homes and the development of the independent sector, particularly the private sector; factors associated with care home costs; changes in the relative role of residential and nursing homes, including changes in the characteristics of residents over time; changes in the quality of provision; the impact of care home closures; provision for self-funders and the expectations of residents; and the development of alternative forms of housing with care, and the degree to which specialised housing can provide an alternative to residential care.

    Care homes in the UK provide around 470,000 places and account for over half the expenditure on social care for older people in England. However, information about care facilities and residents is very limited. The papers presented here aimed to fill some of the gaps in understanding residential care and possible alternatives by making use of data collected in a unique series of related research studies conducted over a period of 30 years.


  • Twigg, J. (2018). Why Clothes Matter: The role of dress in everyday lives of older people. In: Ageing in Everyday Life: Materialities and Embodiments. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
Last updated