From the President

Dear RC 11 members,

As I sit at my desk, Ireland is experiencing a highly unusual heatwave. Due to the sizzling hot weather (in Ireland! can you believe it!), I am wearing the sandals that I bought in Yokohama four years ago when elected President of RC 11 (the sandals are still in good shape, due to little wear in the meantime – not so sure about my presidency ; )

So, it is hard to believe that we are due to hold another election. I am very glad to let you know that we have a strong line-up of nominations, due to be circulated shortly before the Toronto meeting. We are still looking for a two or three nominations to make the slate complete, so do let me know if you are interested in contributing to the RC 11 committee. We would love to have you involved!

I am delighted to say that we will be able to host a reception for members attending the Toronto conference. Our programme co-ordinator, the wonderful Julie McMullin, has organised for a buffet serving a Canadian speciality called ‘poutin’ – it sounds intriguing! - and healthy fare, much of it suitable for vegetarians, so please join us for this social and culinary occasion! Just bring a little money for a drink or two at the cash bar. The reception will take place immediately after the RC 11 Business meeting – so if you attend the meeting, there is a definite reward in store for you…the key date, time and location for your conference diary is:

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 17:30-19:20
Location: 204 (MTCC NORTH BUILDING) – Followed immediately by the reception!

The business meeting will incorporate RC 11’s inaugural Early Career Award ceremony. Please see this newsletter for details of the awardees’ names and titles of their papers, each of which will be presented briefly. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Merril Silverstein, Vice President of RC 11, and to Karen Lowton, for volunteering to undertake the time-consuming and difficult task of adjudicating between no fewer than 28 (!) paper submissions for this competition. The standard of the submissions was extremely high, and we thank all who participated.

Please also see the contents of this newsletter for a range of activities and achievements of our members, most notably the richly deserved award – Officer of the Order of Canada - that our Immediate Past President, Anne Martin-Matthews was honoured with recently. I am sure you will all join me in congratulating Anne for this wonderful achievement!

All good wishes, Virpi
Photo of Virpi Timonen


Announcement of RC 11 Emerging Scholar Paper Award for Aging Research

The Executive Committee of RC 11 is pleased to announce that the winners of the Emerging Scholar Paper Award are:

-Patricia Homan:
“Rethinking the role of childhood socioeconomic status (SES) in adult health: Integrating existing theories with life course perspectives on the disablement process”

-Ella Schwartz:
“The reciprocal relationship between social connectedness and mental health among older European adults: A SHARE-based analysis”

-Eric Vogelsang:
“Feeling better at this age? Investigating three explanations for self-rated health improvements among the oldest-old”

-Joseph Wolfe:
“Multigenerational attainments and mortality among older men: An adjacent generations approach”

Each winner will make a brief presentation of their research at the RC 11 business meeting.
We look forward to congratulating them on this honor at ISA in Toronto!

News from RC11 Members

Photo of Anna Martin Matthews
Anne Martin-Matthews, RC 11 Immediate Past President, and Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Anne was appointed for her extensive research contributions to the field of gerontology, notably in implementing the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.

Susan McDaniel, University of Lethbridge, Canada, has been elected President of RC06 (Families) from 2018 for a four year period. She had served on the Executive of RC06 for the past four years. She also serves on the Canadian Organizing Committee for the World Congress of Sociology, to be held in Toronto, Canada, July 2018. We are looking forward to welcoming RC 11 and ISA colleagues to Canada. At the joint meeting of RC06 (Families) and RC41 (Population) in Singapore in May 2018, she presented a paper, "Global Grasshoppers: Migration and Life Course Disjunctures."
Photo of Susan McDaniel

Call for Papers

Perspectives and Theories of Social Innovation for Ageing Population

In recent years we may observe increasing interest in the development of social innovation both regarding theory as well as the practice of responding to social problems and challenges. One of the crucial challenges at the beginning of the 21st century is population ageing. Various new and innovative initiatives, programs, schemes, and projects to respond to negative consequences of this demographic process are emerging around the world. However, social theories related to ageing are still insufficiently combined with these new practices, social movements, organisational models, and institutions. Many scholars are still using notions and tools from classical theories of social gerontology or the sociology of ageing such as disengagement theory, activity theory, and successful and productive ageing. Such theories do not sufficiently explain ageing in the context of, for example, a broad use of the information and communications technologies (ICTs) including robotics and automation, new healthcare and long-term care models, advancements in the development and governance of age-friendly environments, and public engagement of older adults into co-production of services delivered by public, private, non-governmental as well as non-formal entities.

In this Research Topic we welcome papers critically evaluating the existing social perspectives and theories in the field of ageing, introducing innovative approaches and comparative studies. We welcome researchers from areas such as sociology, pedagogy, public policy, economics, management, and public health. The contributions can be based on theoretical studies as well as the implementation of social innovation and programs addressed at ageing and older people. Reviews and papers on philosophical and ethical issues are also welcome.

- Read about the article collection
- Publishing fees including institutional memberships and fee-waiver program
- Author Guidelines

Research Groups

1. Centre for International Research on Care, Labour & Equalities


The Centre for International Research on Care, Labour & Equalities (CIRCLE), based at the University of Sheffield, is the lead partner in a new programme funded by the ESRC- Sustainable Care: Connecting People and Systems. Sustainable Care is a multi-disciplinary ESRC-funded programme (2017-2021) exploring how care arrangements, currently ‘in crisis’ in parts of the UK, can be made sustainable and deliver wellbeing outcomes. It aims to support policy and practice actors and scholars to conceptualise sustainability in care as an issue of rights, values, ethics and justice, as well as of resource distribution. The programme’s overarching objective is to advance understanding of sources of economic and social sustainability in care, especially how wellbeing outcomes can be achieved for care users, their families and carers and paid care workers. Led by Professor Sue Yeandle, bringing together academics from seven universities, and working with an extended network of international academic partners in fifteen other countries, the programme takes a future-oriented and internationally comparative look at current approaches to the care needs of adults living at home with chronic health problems or disabilities, examining these in the context of care systems, care work and care relationships.

To find out more about the Programme, please visit our website:

2. Rural ageing: unanswered question(s) in environmental gerontology


A project of Office for Population Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno for the Czech Scientific Agency (2016-2018; GA ČR No.16-20873S). This project explores how (and if at all) the Czech older people are “left-behind” in rural areas, and what influence that may have on their quality of life, access to services, quality of social relationships and active ageing. We also follow what the similarities and differences between rural and urban ageing nationwide and internationally within the European cultural space are.

Recently, we have published an overview paper. The paper presents an analysis of the rural-urban divide in terms of the quality of life of older people in the Czech Republic. The results aim to contribute to the debate about whether the countryside or the city is the better place to grow old. In public discourse, the term “rural” is often equated with conservativism, boredom, uniformity, deprivation, ageing, social exclusion, and underdeveloped services. In contrast, cities are stereotypically conceived as progressive, growing, rich, fast-paced, but also anonymous and dangerous. These aspects can influence the perceived quality of life of older respondents to varying degrees. The study uses two data sets representative of the senior urban (n = 1921) and rural (n = 1235) populations over 60 years of age. Forty-six indicators are divided into eight dimensions of quality of life: family and friend relationships, emotional well-being, material well-being, health, economic and public activities, place attachment, personal safety, and mobility. In more than one third of the indicators monitored, cities and villages show approximately the same values, while in 20% of the indicators cities appear to provide more favorable conditions with respect to quality of life at higher age; however, in 43% of indicators, rural areas appear to provide more favorable conditions than cities. Rural seniors in the Czech Republic are subjectively healthier, have higher incomes and lower housing costs, have better relationships in their neighborhoods, and feel safer and slightly more included. Urban seniors benefit from better transport infrastructure and opportunities for culturally productive activities, which can be a function of their generally higher education. In the discussion, we draw attention to the "deficient" approach of selected policies to living conditions in villages, these treating villages more as “cities in the making” and putting greater moral value on the urban features of life. By doing so, they disregard “person-environment fit” principles which reflect the congruence between the individual and his or her living space.

To cite as: VIDOVIĆOVÁ, Lucie. Vybrané rozdíly v kvalitě života českých seniorů ve městě a na venkově. [Selected differences in the quality of life of older people in urban and rural areas in the Czech Republic]. Fórum sociální politiky, Praha: Výzkumný ústav práce a sociálních věcí, 2018, roč. 12, č. 3, s. 2-8. ISSN 1802-5854.

Call for PhD and Postdoc Positions

1. Post-doctoral position in science studies/sociology of health

Sponsor: Université Grenoble Alpes

Epigenetics – literally, what is “beyond” or “above” genetics – is expected to bring about a paradigmatic change in the biomedical sciences and in health policies. The Soc-Epi project investigates how epigenetics may renew current ways of analyzing the biological embodiment of physical, material and social environments. Soc-Epi brings together sociologists of science, sociologists of health, environmental epidemiologists and researchers in epigenetics. Together they will explore the “biosocial” agendas which emerge with epigenetics and their possible translation in social and health policies.

The project is led by the Social Sciences Research Unit PACTE and brings together five partner institutions (PACTE; Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Grenoble; Techniques for biomedical engineering and complexity management – informatics, mathematics and applications, Grenoble; Inserm Research Unit 1027, epidemiology, Toulouse; Interdisciplinary Research Unit Sciences, Health and Society, Cermes3, Paris).

Job description: an in-depth qualitative study (data collection and analysis: interviews, observations); organisation of interdisciplinary workshops (epigenetics, epidemiology, sociology).

The post-doctoral position is an 18-month contract, starting October 1, 2018. They will be in residence at the PACTE research unit in Grenoble, and work in close collaboration with Séverine Louvel (project leader, associate prof in sociology, Sciences Po Grenoble), Cherry Schrecker (professor in sociology, UGA) and Solène Billaud (associate professor in sociology, UGA).

Applicants will have successfully completed a doctoral degree, preferably, in science studies and/or sociology of health. Previous knowledge on epigenetics is not required, however familiarity with public health issues is necessary. Previous experience in a qualitative social science study and data analysis is also required. Applicants should be fluent in French and proficient in English.

The post-doctoral researcher is expected to interact closely with the project’s members and to publish his/her research in peer-reviewed publications and via oral presentations. The postdoctoral position is open to international applicants.
Applicants must hold a PhD degree (or be about to earn one) or have a University degree equivalent to a European PhD (8-year duration).

Applicants will have to send an application letter in English and attach:

- Their last diploma
- Their CV
- Two letters of recommendation.
Applications should be submitted to: and
-Application deadline: July 15, 2018 at 12pm (CET)
-Eligibility check of applications and 1st round of selection: in August 2018
-2nd round of selection: shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview session in Grenoble in September 2018.
-Starting date for employment: October 1, 2018

2. Six doctoral scholarships for internationals

Sponsor: Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology

The BGHS is offering six scholarships for international prospective doctoral researchers. The scholarships start on 1 April 2019. They have a duration of three years and include a stipend of EUR 1.365,- per month. A full description of the scholarships is available here.

Applications should be submitted to the online application portal no later than 30 September 2018.

Required application documents:

-Short profile (template),
-Covering letter (600 words max.) (guidelines),
-Curriculum Vitae (1,000 words max.), (guidelines)
-Project description (guidelines)
-University degree documents (BA degree certificate + BA transcript and MA degree certificate + MA transcript or a statement from your examination office that you have successfully completed your Master's studies. All your grades, including the grade for your Master's thesis, must be displayed in this statement.)

Please read the FAQs carefully. They contain all important information on application requirements and procedures. Please also read the project description guidelines for information on formal design and content as well as the Covering letter and Curriculum Vitae guidelines.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Miriam Kanne should you have any questions (

See more information:

Publications of RC11 Members

1.'Sharing Lives. Adult Children and Parents' (Book)



Sharing Lives explores the relationships between adult children and their parents. The book focuses on the reasons and results of lifelong intergenerational solidarity by looking at individuals, families and societies. This monograph combines theoretical reasoning with empirical research, based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Sharing Lives offers reliable findings on the basis of state-of-the-art methods and international data, and presents these findings in an accessible manner. Some of the questions are: • Do family generations share their lives? Do they quarrel and fight? • Which factors are responsible for cohesion and conflict? • How important is class, gender, migration and country? • Do welfare states reduce or strengthen family cohesion? • Does intergenerational solidarity increase social inequality? Contents: Introduction – Concepts and contexts – Crisis? What crisis? – Contact: Staying in touch – Conflict: Quarrels and fights? – Space: Living together – Money: Financial support – Time: Who helps, who cares? – Inheritance: To him that hath – Conclusions. The book is available as Hardback, Paperback and eBook.

2. 'Ageing in Asia-Pacific: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives' (Book)



In the coming decades, challenges and risks associated with rapid population ageing will be paramount in Asia-Pacific. Examining key trends, dilemmas and developments with reference to specific nations, the book draws conclusions and policy recommendations that apply to Asia-Pacific as a whole. Individual chapters focus on the impact of population ageing, along with urbanization and industrialization, on the lives of people in the region. The book shows how leaders in Asia-Pacific – political, community and others – need to respond to changes in family and social structures, disease pathology, gender roles, income security, the care of older citizens and the provision of social and health welfare. Chapter Five on women and ageing in South Korea was authored by Yunjeong Yang (Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Yunjeong describes still vivid gender ideology expecting women as main family caregiver, regardless of their involvement in paid work, as the root cause of women’s accumulated disadvantages over their lifespan, and thus argues for a gender paradigm change as a fundamental response to the societal challenge of ageing.

3. Geographical Gerontology: Perspectives, Concepts, Approaches (Book)



This book focuses on the interdisciplinary field of study – geographical gerontology – that addresses issues of where ageing occurs, how it is experienced by different people in different places, and how it is transforming our communities, economies and societies at all levels. The contributions from more than 30 leading geographers and gerontologists include several with a more expressly sociological perspectives. In “Household spaces of ageing: When care comes home”, RC 11 member Anne Martin-Matthews, and Denise Cloutier, identify three relational properties of the intersection of family and formal ‘home’ care in later life: collectivity, contingency and cultural diversity , and examine how each impacts care of older people, along a continuum from highly collaborative to contested.

4. 'Care across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration' (Book)



World-wide migration has an unsettling effect on social structures, especially on aging populations and eldercare. This volume investigates how taken-for-granted roles are challenged, intergenerational relationships transformed, economic ties recalibrated, technological innovations utilized, and spiritual relations pursued and desired, and asks what it means to care at a distance and to age abroad. What it does show is that trans-nationalization of care produces unprecedented convergences of people, objects and spaces that challenge our assumptions about the who, how, and where of care.

5. 'Cultures of care in aging' (Book)



This book is about caring for elderly persons in the 21th century. It shows that care has many facets and is influenced by many factors. Central topics of this book thus include the relation between the person depending on care and the care giver(s), the impacts of caregiving on the family and the larger social context, as well as socio-cultural and political aspects underlying the growing need for and the practice of formal and informal care. It is evident that care as a real-life phenomenon of our time needs the co-operation of multiple disciplines to better understand, describe, explain and modify phenomena of elder care. Such a need for cross- disciplinary research is even more urgent given the increasing population aging and the impending gaps between demand and supply of care. The present book is dedicated to this approach and provides a first substantive integration of knowledge from geropsychology, other gerosciences, and cultural psychologies by a multi-disciplinary cast of internationally renowned authors. Cultural psychology emerged as a valuable partner of the gerosciences by contributing essentially to a deeper understanding of the relevant issues. Reading of this book provides the reader—researcher or practitioner—with new insights of where the problems of advancing age take our caring tasks in our 21st century societies and it opens many new directions for further work in the field. Finally and above all, this book is also a strong plea for solidarity between generations in family and society in a rapidly changing globalized world.

6. Old and afraid of new communication technologies? Reconceptualising and contesting the 'age-based digital divide' (Article)



Despite sociological attempts to critically address an age-based digital divide, older adults (65+) continue to be portrayed in the academic literature and public discourse as a homogeneous group characterised by technophobia, digital illiteracy, and technology non-use. Additionally, the role of socioeconomic factors and personal contexts in later life are often overlooked in studies on technology adoption and use. For example, older adults who are identified as least likely to use technology (frail, care-dependent, low socioeconomic/educational backgrounds) are typically described as a uniform cluster. Yet, research on digital technology use with this group remains scant – so what can we learn from studying technology adoption among them? This article discusses long-term deployment of new communication technologies with such a group of older adults, shedding light on the dynamics of technology adoption and contexts of use/non-use. It is based on a case study approach and a cross-cultural perspective, using Canadian and Australian mixed-methods research from two projects that included interviews, psychometric scales, and field observations. We present cases from these projects and contest the simplistic notion of an age-based digital divide, by drawing on Strong Structuration Theory to explore the interconnection of agency, structure, and context in the sociotechnical process of technology adoption and use/non-use among older adults.

7. 'Religious coping among older, unemployed workers: Narratives of the job-loss experience' (Article)



This article is a qualitative examination of how older workers who lost their jobs during the Great Recession and its prolonged recovery employed religion to cope with this stressful experience. Based on 62 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with middle-class adults age 50 or older, our data reveal five distinct themes in relation to religious coping with the job-loss experience: faith as solace, surrendering to God, meaning making, discontent with God or believers, and gaining strength from religious community. Findings are placed in the context of the broader religious coping literature and several empirical and applied implications are discussed.

8. 'Social capital and Internet use in an age-comparative perspective with a focus on later life' (Article)



Older adults (aged 65+) are still less likely to adopt the Internet when compared to other age groups, although their usage is increasing. To explore the societal effects of Internet usage, scholars have been using social capital as an analytical tool. Social capital pertains to the resources that are potentially available in one’s social ties. As the Internet becomes a prominent source of information, communication, and participation in industrialized countries, it is critical to study how it affects social resources from an age-comparative perspective. Research has found a positive association between Internet use and social capital, though limited attention has been paid to older adults. Studies have also found a positive association between social capital and wellbeing, health, sociability, and social support amongst older adults. However, little is known about how Internet usage or lack thereof relates to their social capital. To address this gap, we used a mixed-methods approach to examine the relationship between Internet usage and social capital and whether and how it differs by age. For this, we surveyed a representative sample of 417 adults (18+) living in Lisbon, Portugal, of which 118 are older adults. Social capital was measured through bonding, bridging, and specific resources, and analyzed with Latent Class Modeling and logistic regressions. Internet usage was measured through frequency and type of use. Fourteen follow-up semi-structured interviews helped contextualize the survey data. Our findings show that social capital decreased with age but varied for each type of Internet user. Older adults were less likely to have a high level of social capital; yet within this age group, frequent Internet users had higher levels than other users and non-users. On the one hand, the Internet seems to help maintain, accrue, and even mobilize social capital. On the other hand, it also seems to reinforce social inequality and accumulated advantage (known as the Matthew effect).

9. 'Cross-disciplinary research methods to study technology use, family, and life course dynamics: lessons from an action research project on social isolation and loneliness in later life' (Book Chapter)



As research on the relationship between digital technology and family life is emerging as an important topic for family scholars, what can we learn from socio-technical research designed and conducted by social and computer scientists? What do we gain by combining cross-disciplinary methods to study technology adoption and its outcomes within family and life course contexts? What challenges do we face? This chapter considers these questions by drawing on a mixed-methods project on technology and social connectedness in later life, facilitated by a team of sociologists and human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers.


Virpi Timonen, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland


Julie McMullin, The University of Western Ontario, Canada
Merril Silverstein, Syracuse University, United States


Lucie Vidovicová, Masaryk University, Czech Republic


Esteban Calvo, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile


Ignacio Madero-Cabib, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile


Libby Brooke, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Giuseppina Cersosimo, University of Salerno, Italy
Andreas Hoff, Zittau-Goerlitz University, Germany
Jacob John Kattakayam, University of Kerala, India
Kathrin Komp, University of Helsinki, Finland
Carole-Lynne Le Navenec, University of Calgary, Canada
Wendy Martin, Brunel University, UK
Shirley Nuss, United States
Debora Price, University of Manchester, UK
Ronica Rooks, University of Colorado Denver, United States
Sandra Torres, Uppsala University, Sweden