Research into the life course and ageing is an interdisciplinary enterprise in which the study of culture and of cultures has become key, allowing gerontologists from a multitude of disciplines to detect and critique myths that denigrate older age or portray later life as essentially a time of dependency and decay.
This Conference aims to deepen empirical, theoretical and reflective approaches to the field of cultural gerontology. It will explore ways in which practices and interpretations shape the experience of ageing, making its impacts more or less habitable and offering resources that human beings can shape and change. The creation and experience of meaning during the life course is a central feature of this topic. Equally, it will be important to challenge social processes connected with ageing that promote exclusion and inequality, and the narratives that support or excuse them.
Cultural gerontology reveals and dissects culturally-determined perceptions, attitudes and effects of human ageing that are not accentuated within other disciplinary approaches. The term ‘culture’ does not entail ignoring economic, social, political and other impacts on ageing, but the study of culture – with its multiplicity of forms – enhances our interrogation of both individual and social choices and constraints connected with ageing. It also explores, for example, the cultural means that can help people and groups to respond to the pressures and opportunities they encounter as they age. It analyses expectations and practices that can help ageing adults to exercise power and resist it, to confront obstacles or sometimes to create them, and to make their lives meaningful both to themselves and to others. The arts, humanities and social sciences thus have a fundamental role to play in the study of human ageing and form an invaluable complement to other areas of gerontological research.
The Conference will thus welcome research into the process of ageing in its diverse cultural and social manifestations. It will promote discussion of the human ageing process from both interdisciplinary and disciplinary perspectives, including those of anthropology, economics, history, language, literature, the study of the (mass) media, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, and sociology. In particular, it will welcome research that investigates the different concepts and methods used in multiple disciplines as they attempt to respond to the challenges of ageing.
Please direct all queries to Christine De Largy at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 00 353 91 495461.