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From the President

Dear RC-11 community members,

Hope this finds you all well! The RC-11 community is a global one so, as you can imagine, we are experiencing the pandemic in different ways. The road back to normal will look different depending on where we live and so writing a column like this continues to be a challenge. As I write this column I am keeping my fingers crossed that you remain safe and sane in spite of all of the challenges that covid-19 continues to pose.
Photo of Sandra Torres
In the last column I wrote – which came out in the late autumn of 2020 – I gave you some insight into how I was coping. I received several e-mails stating that you appreciated getting a bit of insight into how we are handling the pandemic here in Sweden. Thus, let me begin this column by re-capping some of what I mentioned then before giving insight as far as personal-pandemic-coping is concerned.

As mentioned earlier, the Swedish government has had a relatively laissez-faire approach to handling the pandemic so we have not had mandated lockdowns nor have we had regulations dictating the use of masks in public. When infection rates (and death tolls) have been up, we have had some restrictions as far as the number of people that can attend public gatherings and the opening hours that restaurants and bars can have. Some cultural institutions have also been closed when infection rates have been high but basically the Swedish strategy has entailed recommendations that we practice social distancing, work from home if possible, and remain at home if we exhibit symptoms. This is why people like me – with medical conditions that put them at risk, and who live in densely populated areas – have opted for a more restrictive approach to everyday life while covid-19 has been lurking around. Close to 77% of our population is, however, fully vaccinated now. We can therefore see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have started to carefully venture out of my home even though my life is not ‘back to normal’ yet. Thus, although the past year and a half has been challenging, and I have experienced losses due to covid-19 ☹, I feel blessed. Thus, because I believe that our ability to recognize the silver lining in the midst of great adversities can sometimes give us strength to manage the challenges that life sends our way, I hope you are able to count your blessings too. I hope also that you have found your unique way to cope through it all.

As for the latest as far as this particular community is concerned, we had an amazingly informative ISA Forum back in late February, which offered (to me at least) great inspiration. Due to the various challenges that program coordinators faced when ISA first postponed, and then moved the Forum to an online platform, I ended up having to chair an unusually high number of sessions for this particular conference. Although a bit overwhelmed with the task at first, I thoroughly enjoyed attending presentations on topics I know little about, and would have probably missed had I not had to chair the sessions. Getting a glimpse into the array of research questions and angles of investigation that characterize the research we do is a privilege so I thank everyone who participated and contributed to our discussions through questions and comments! Perhaps forum participation offered a much needed break in the midst of it all, as well as an opportunity to re-charge your intellectual batteries!

As some of you may remember, our research committee offered two skill-workshops for emerging scholars during the forum: one on how to manage everyday life as a research-oriented academic, and another on how to publish in international journals that use anonymous peer-reviewed systems. Both workshops were very well attended (70+ colleagues from around the world joined us in fact, which was far more than we had expected…we thought we would have 20+ attendees). The Vice President of Research for ISA - Geoffrey Pleyers –attended one of our workshops, and asked us to host it again during the next world congress but for the entire ISA. The feedback we received from workshop participants was overwhelmingly positive, and we thank everyone who took their time to send us feedback. The RC-11 community is constituted of talented experts on an array of research topics so we are confident that we can arrange other workshops in the future if you want us to. Feel therefore free to contact me if you want to find out more about the workshops we offered back in February, and/or have ideas for topics for future ones. We are here to serve you so share your ideas with us!
Speaking of ISA’s next world congress, some of us have been a bit busy over the past few months attending the long Saturday meetings that ISA arranged in order to decide whether to postpone the World Congress in Melbourne or not. As some of you may remember, the congress was originally scheduled for 2022. After deliberations in the various governance structures that make up the Int’l. Sociological Association, the congress was postponed to 2023. This means that the elections for the executive committees that serve each research committee – via the work that presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries, treasurers and officers-at-large do - were also postponed. Thus, as members of RC- 11’s executive committee we have all been asked to remain in our posts until 2023 (an extra year in other words). All of us in this executive committee welcome any questions you may have about the work we do, how the nomination process for ex-com roles works, or if you want to know how you can increase your involvement in this community.

The work we do behind the scene for both ISA and RC-11 continues, in other words, even if the pandemic has tried to paralyze us numerous times. The fact that this newsletter is a bit delayed is an example of that. We greatly appreciate all the content you sent our way since this newsletter can only be created if you continue to send us the news you want to share with the RC-11 community! Because we are a global community, English is very seldom our first language. Thus, grammatical errors may appear in our content since we do not have the resources needed to proof-read what you sent us so grammatical errors could be found in the content below. In spite of the challenges we have faced this past year, we remain committed to the work we do, and hope that this newsletter offers some inspiration to all of you out there whose work in education, research, policy and practice focuses on the aging population.

Warmest regards,
Sandra Torres
President of RC-11

PS: Please feel free to drop me a line via e-mail (sandra.torres@soc.uu.se) if you have feedback, comments and questions about the work we do. RC-11 is our scientific community, so your input as member is highly appreciated!

ISA News (as sent to us by members)

ISA forms the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Group


By invitation from the ISA Research Council meeting on April 10, 2021, the Advisory Group on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion was established. This group is constituted by volunteers led by Dr Debra J. Davidson, Professor at the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta. The RC-11 community, and "age as a topic”, are represented in this advisory group by RC11 Vice-President Lucie Vidovićová.

The group will assist the ISA structures in better reflecting EDI principles throughout its various goals and activities. Ongoing concerns about the overrepresentation of more prosperous countries have led to the realisation that the organisation has very limited membership demographic data. Age, gender, race, ethnicity, LGBTQIT+ identities, and other possible characteristics should be recognised as important dimensions of diversity. The precise role of the group is yet to be defined; nevertheless, there will be at least two priority goals: to develop a charter to be incorporated into the ISA Guidelines and Terms of Reference, and to stress the importance of providing a complete set of benefits to all ISA members, regardless of their positionality.

Further, procedures will need to be set up to establish a place at which concerns or complaints about behaviours or actions that may constitute discrimination or harassment will be possible to address. Last but not least, a survey will be designed and shared with the RCs, WGs, and TGs, as well as with the general ISA membership, to help to identify what EDI mechanisms and strategies are already in place and to reveal the so-far unidentified barriers to broader participation. Various activities are being discussed to support these goals, such as regional workshops, EDI professional development training events, and other initiatives to boost inclusive member engagement. Surprisingly, the issue of age was not ‘obvious’ to the group before its discussion, which confirms that the RC11 mission to spread the relevance of age, ageing, and the life course is far from finished.

Please reach out to Lucie Vidovićová (vidovicova@fss.muni.cz) if you have some suggestions for the group's work and/or you would like to take an active part in the ISA EDI Advisory Board goals.

An important step in the quest against age discrimination – new ISA Policy Statement


At the April 2021 Research Council meeting, two former ISA VPs, prof. Jan Marie Fritz (University of Cincinnati, USA), and Tina Uys (University of Johannesburg, South Africa), along with RC11 VP Lucie Vidovićová (Masaryk University, Brno, Czechia) presented a proposal for a policy statement on the refusal of the mandatory retirement age, which was accepted as the ISA Policy statement ‘Mandatory Retirement from Employment because of Age’. The policy statement was also reported to the WHO as ISA's contribution to the Global Campaign against Ageism.

The policy statement is available at https://www.isa-sociology.org/en/about-isa/policy-statements, and we have included the text below.

Mandatory Retirement from Employment because of Age

April 2021

Bearing in mind the World Health Organization's global campaign to combat ageism and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's policy brief, "Combating Ageism in the World of Work," the International Sociological Association (ISA) has developed this statement opposing mandatory retirement from employment because of age.

The ISA is aware that older employees, including sociologists, can find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment and regain employment when displaced from jobs. We know there are countries, institutions and enterprises that have laws, rules and/or practices in place that require mandatory retirement because of age. The ISA is opposed to discriminatory statements and actions because of age.

ISA Forum 2021 – A Recap

As mentioned in the President’s Column, RC-11 offered not only a range of excellent presentations at the ISA FORUM 2021 (online), as well as two workshops for interested early career scholars. We share the abstracts for these workshops so that everyone is able to get a better idea about what they were about. Perhaps these abstracts inspire you to send ideas for future workshops our way ☺.

Workshop 1: Managing Everyday Life as a Research-Focused Academic

This workshop is geared toward doctoral students and recently graduated PhDs who are trying to figure out how to establish efficient and productive everyday routines to manage a sustainable research career. The workshop will focus on some of the basic skills necessary to do this (from goal setting to database search strategies and efficient literature review routines, to name but a few). The presenter is the President of RC-11, who has been giving workshops such as these ones in the country where she is based (i.e. Sweden), as well as in Norway, Slovenia and Costa Rica to name but a few. Thus, although this workshop is not designed to offer tips that are country-specific, it is bound to give emerging scholars some necessary ‘epiphanies’, which will most definitely allow them to craft more purposeful strategies for themselves.

Workshop 2: Writing for Publication in peer-reviewed journals

Cracking the code necessary to manage publishing in internationally established peer-reviewed journals tends to be perceived as a challenge in the beginning of one’s academic career. This is especially so when one is struggling to grasp the difference between writing a research report, writing a book chapter, and writing a manuscript for submission to such journals. This workshop will address these differences, and will also give concrete tips on how these differences affect the ways in which one constructs the various sections utilized in a publication (from the interest-raising introduction to the knowledge-gap-divulging-literature review to name but a few). The presenter is the President of ISA’s RC-11, who has vast experience of editorial board work for such journals, and is, among others, the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief role for Ageing & Society. Thus, although the workshop will not focus on any specific journal, it has been designed for those who would like to gain insight into the international journals that rely on anonymous peer-review processes, and want know-how in order to craft manuscripts they can submit to these journals.

As already mentioned, many early career scholars in ageing research participated in these workshops, and send us feedback. We reached out to one of them to ask if we could share their experience with us:

Anna Urbaniak, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna:
Photo of Anna Urbaniak
Amazing workshop. I wish somebody told me all that when I was starting my PhD. Sandra is an amazing tutor: not only she provided participants with the most useful insights and practical tips but also her sparkling personality made this workshop one of the most enjoyable and productive workshops I participated so far. Thank you for organising this great event! I gained not only the sense on how best organise my work but also the much needed encouragement and motivation.
Heloisia Pait, tenured assistant professor at SÃO PAULO State University
Sandra presented the academic career in a way that is at once obvious for researchers and revolutionary for faculty, applying our traditional methods to our own professional paths. Which sociologist wouldn’t think about grasping the social environment in which action happens? This is SOC 101. But somehow we create magical expectations about our institutions and we, sophisticated intellectuals, are baffled when they are not met by reality. Sandra guided us through the various distractions of academic life, reminding us that setting clear and reasonable academic goals is a must in our lives and careers.
Photo of Heloisia Pait

New networks and research groups (as sent to us by members)

Network on Participatory Approaches in Ageing Research (PAAR)

Participatory Approaches in Ageing Research logo
RC11 members Anna Urbaniak, University of Vienna, and Anna Wanka, University of Frankfurt, have founded a research network on “Participatory approaches in Ageing Research” (PAAR), assembling an international group of researchers and practitioners who are passionate about involving older adults as co-creators of the research process, and with the aim to to exchange knowledge and experiences related to co-creation with older adults in Europe and beyond. If you want to become a member of the network ...
Join our mailing list: https://lists.univie.ac.at/mailman/listinfo/paar
Join our Slack space: https://join.slack.com/t/paarzentrale/shared_invite/zt-v6udww4j-Ns_IMYiwAXd50PR1rsSCZw
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NetworkPaar

Call for Abstracts (as sent to us; apologies if deadlines have passed)

Aging, Care and Migration: 2nd Interdisciplinary Doctoral Symposium (Online)

Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC)
University of Graz, Austria | October 19-20, 2021
Logo for Interdisciplinary Doctoral Symposium on Aging, Care and Migration
In the last decades, aging, care, and migration have become central concerns on an individual as well as on a societal level. Highlighting the significance of exchange between disciplines on these topics, the Second Interdisciplinary Doctoral Symposium on Aging, Care and Migration taking place virtually on October 19-20, aims at facilitating the international exchange of PhD students and establishing an early career network of emerging scholars.

Keynote and skills workshop

We are delighted to announce that the keynote on Day 1 will be given by Prof. Dr. Sandra Torres (Uppsala University, Sweden), leading expert in the field of Social Gerontology and Migration Studies, on “Caring democracy: the role that theoretically-astute understandings of ethnicity and race must play”. Additionally, Prof. Torres will hold a skills workshop on Day 1 (see program below).

PhD presentations

Focusing on the interplay between aging, care, and migration, we welcome contributions by PhD students on Day 2 dealing with topics including but by no means limited to cultural and literary representations of aging, migration, and care, discourses of inclusion, exclusion, and attribution, questions of health and wellbeing, ethics, justice, and equality, intersectionality/intersectional discrimination, marginalization and othering, gender, LGBTQ2S+, ethnicity, (transnational) care migration, or policy development regarding one or more of the above-mentioned topics.

Call for abstracts

Papers will be held virtually and will be accessible for a registered public audience. Abstracts must include a title, author(s)’ name(s) and a summary of the research design and findings. Please sign up here by September 19, 2021.

Programme

Day 1: October 19, 2021

Workshop with Prof. Sandra Torres: “Managing Everyday Life as a Research-Focused Academic”.

Keynote by Prof. Sandra Torres: “Caring democracy: the role that theoretically-astute understandings of ethnicity and race must play”.

Day 2: October 20, 2021

PhD student presentations: We welcome submissions from PhD students from all fields of research and at all stages of their PhD projects.

Registration: Please register here and indicate which of the three events you would
like to participate in (workshop, keynote, PhD presentations).

Academic Program Committee: Dr. Dagmar Gramshammer-Hohl, Anna-Christina Kainradl MA, Mara Kaiser MA, Prof. Dr. Helen Kohlen, Prof. Dr. Ulla Kriebernegg, Prof. Dr. Annette Sprung, Prof. Dr. Klaus Wegleitner, Katharina Zwanzger MA

This symposium is held in cooperation between the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC) and the University of Graz’s research network Heterogeneity and Cohesion with its clusters Aging, Demography and Care and Migration.

New projects by RC11 members (as sent to us by members)

ALGOCARE - Algorithmic governance of care


Duration: 2021-2024

Project team: Martin Kampl (TU Vienna), Vera Gallistl (Center for Gerontology, Karl Landsteiner Private University), Roger von Laufenberg (Vienna Centre for Social Security)

Funding source: Vienna Science and Technology Fund, Digital Humanities Initiative

Care work in long-term care (LTC) is considered as a genuine human-centred activity, requiring empathy, emotional investment, physical encounters and intimate, trust-based relations between various care-givers and care-recipients. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are introduced in this professional field to assist care workers in their daily activities and provide an additional measure of care for clients. This has changed the provision of care, affecting care givers and recipients alike. So far, little research has been done on the biases that emerge from AI in this field and the risks that algorithmic governance of care offers in the profession. Based on data generated by AI technologies, unfair decisions can remain unnoticed in the process of linking different big data sets, leading to ethical and social issues in LTC.

ALGOCARE’s goal is to understand the functionality and bias of algorithmic governing systems of care and their effects on care givers and recipients. Insight from qualitative case study research in LTC will provide an understanding of the impact and needs of care in relation to AI systems. The use-value of explainable AI (xAI) methods (trustworthiness, fairness, explainable procedures) and different levels of transparency that either the model itself provides or methods that provide them before or after model development are explored. Based on this insight, tools and metrics are developed to evaluate the explainability of AI for care.

Linking Ages – A Dialogue between Childhood and Ageing Research

Linking Ages research project logo
Duration: 2021-2022

Project team: Anna Wanka, Tabea Freutel-Funke, Sabine Andresen & Frank Oswald.

Funding source: Volkswagen Foundation.

Linking ages is a new perspective creating a linkage between research on childhood and later life. We focus on rethinking theoretical concepts, methods and research challenges. Thereby we are interested in learning from each other, putting blind spots on the agenda and identifying future hot topics in the field of Linking Ages. Age as a social category of difference shapes our positions in society, our lifestyles, attitudes and ambitions even more than other categories of difference, like gender or class. Childhood and later life, in comparison, are framed as the “other” to the normalcy of adulthood. Researching and contrasting these “margins of the life course” can thus tell us a lot about social construction of age as central societal order. What can a childhood researcher and ageing researcher thereby learn from each other?

Linking Ages aims to: (1) establish a transdisciplinary network of childhood and later life experts. Starting with our Delphi survey we want identify, discuss and develop central topics, discourses and concepts. (2) include a lifeworld perspective through Citizen Workshops with Children and older adults. Within these workshops central topics will be developed, commented and discussed.

In a first step important topics will be discovered through our expert Delphi survey. Please follow the link to participate: https://www.soscisurvey.de/LinkingAgesDelphi1/ . If you want to receive further information about the project, its results or invitations for the workshops please let us know: Freutel-Funke@em.uni-frankfurt.de

Quality of Life of Chilean Elderly People during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Quality of Life of Chilean Elderly People during the COVID-19 Pandemic logo
Project team: M. Soledad Herrera Ponce, Raúl Elgueta Rosas, M.Beatriz Fernández Lorca, Claudia Giacoman Hernández, Daniella Leal Valenzuela, Miriam Rubio Acuña, Pío Marshall de la Maza & Felipe Bustamante Palma.

Funding source: ANID-COVID0041 (Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo, Chilean Government).

The older adult population in Chile has received a triple threat derived from COVID-19. The first comes from the greater risk of disease severity and the higher mortality risk, in addition to other health problems. The second type of threat comes from the greater risk of social isolation that older people have had to face due to the more significant confinement requirements implemented by the health authority. Mandatory or voluntary confinement conditions would have consequences on physical and mental health. This leads to a third threat, the media's image of this population as a vulnerable and passive group during the pandemic, with restrictions on diverse forms of participation. Many studies show the risks of "ageism" in the well-being and health of older people.

This project aims to analyze the social, health and psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic following a cohort of Chilean older people. Depressive and anxiety symptoms, perception of loneliness and social isolation, social support and resilience, use of information and communication technologies, food insecurity, residential situation, perception of health and health problems were measured. A telephone survey was conducted throughout Chile to a representative sample of people aged 60 and over, who had already been surveyed for the first time at the end of 2019, within the Fifth National Survey on Quality of Life in Old Age 2019 (UC-Caja Los Andes). With the additional financing of the ANID-COVID0041 project, three telephone follow-ups were carried out on a subsample of 720 older people, covering the measurement of the indicators during three periods of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile: winter 2020, summer 2020/21 and autumn 2021. In this way, it was possible to compare the indicators during the pandemic with the pre-pandemic levels (baseline 2019).

The study's main results confirm that the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly affected older people in Chile, decreasing their subjective well-being and, above all, affecting their mental health, with an increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms. The general state of health also worsened, increasing memory problems and gastrointestinal problems, both also associated with the stress that the experience of the pandemic and confinement has implied. This study has visualized the high heterogeneity of the elderly population in Chile. The older people, with a low educational level and who live alone, are the most vulnerable in the face of restrictive confinement measures, mainly due to the scarce access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). However, older people have resources that have enabled them to cope better with this stressful situation. The most significant change observed is the considerable increase in resilience among the elderly, which is also supported by international evidence. The use of smartphones, especially video calls, has contributed to maintaining and even increasing contact with social networks. However, access to ICTs has been more unequally distributed in the elderly population, being the elderly and those with a lower educational level the most excluded, having a greater risk of loss of well-being due to confinement. The ability to maintain contacts – especially with family members - shows that families have operated as essential support for well-being in this group. In addition, intergenerational co-residence increased, although this also may be explained more due to children's needs than of the elderly. However, families - and especially women - are in high demand due to the multiple care tasks they face.

Older people have been an essential support for families, so health security policies, rather than reinforcing the image of the vulnerability of this segment, should support this segment in a comprehensive intergenerational collaboration model. Social policies should be aimed at facilitating the interconnectivity of the elderly, which should include a robust information and communication technology policy aimed at the most vulnerable population. The exclusive confinement of older people favors the isolation and stigmatization of this age group. It is necessary to generate a community culture of collaboration with this segment without stigmatization and visibility as a vulnerable and homogeneous group. Chilean data indicate that this is a simplistic view of the older population, which is heterogeneous, where a good part has social and psychological resources to face the pandemic even better than young people. However, another segment is more vulnerable, which especially requires policies that favor inclusion rather than isolation.

The project results can be accessed here: https://sociologia.uc.cl/12498-2/ and here: https://sociologia.uc.cl/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/libro_calidad-de-vida-pm-y-covid-19-.pdf

You can see the oral presentation (in Spanish) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEXb7lRIolE

RESTABUS project: Innovative ways of definition, measurement of prevalence and solution of senior abuse in the Czech Republic

Duration: 2021-2023

Project team: Lucie Vidovićová (PI), Centre for Research on Ageing (CERA)

Funding source: Technology Agency of the Czech Republic
Centre for Research on Ageing logo
The Centre for Research on Ageing (CERA) (starnuti.fss.muni.cz) is a newly established working group within the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. While the working group is new, some of its members have researched the topic of ageing for twenty years now. Besides social research, the CERA aims at becoming an important resource for policymakers, who are often looking for guidance and suggestions in conjunction with their work. This July, the CERA team started working on the RESTABUS project: Innovative ways of definition, measurement of prevalence and solution of senior abuse in the Czech Republic (including transfer of international good practice). The project, coordinated by Lucie Vidovićová, will look for a broad definition of elder abuse and neglect, conduct a first-ever nation-wide representative survey on elder abuse and neglect prevalence by using some of the well-established international survey tools, and last but not least, test the possibility to apply restorative justice principles into elder abuse and neglect case resolution.

You may follow the project's progress from July 2021 until December 2023 here: https://www.muni.cz/en/research/projects/61207 or send us an e-mail to starnuti@fss.muni.cz.

The social relationships and mental health of older gay and lesbian adults in Israel


Duration: 2021-2026

Project team: Cohn-Schwartz, Ella, Bachner Yaacov

Funding source: Israel Science Foundation

Older lesbian and gay (LG) adults are a distinct and understudied group within the larger aging population, with unique characteristics and needs. Compared to older heterosexual adults, LG older adults are at an increased risk for mental health problems, while also being at a greater risk for social isolation. Many have no children and are estranged from their families of origin, the result of which may be unique social environments (e.g., families of choice) that differ from those of older heterosexual adults. Although social relationships are integral to the mental health of heterosexual and LG older adults alike, the effects of the unique aspects of LG relationships, such as their “families of choice,” are not yet understood. Therefore, this research will aim at better understanding how the social relationships of LG adults can impact their mental health, with a focus on various mental health indicators relevant to aging among LGs. For this project we will develop a conceptual model to examine the impact of social relationships on the mental health of older gay and lesbian adults in Israel over time, based on the theoretical frameworks of the Health Equity Promotion Model (HEPM) and the Convoy Model of Social Relations. The project will delve into meaningful and unique aspects of LG adults’ social ties, such as their level of commitment, stability, acceptance, and disclosure. Particular attention will be given to "families of choice," which are often the main source of support for LG adults, with understudied mental health implications. We will use a longitudinal design, necessary to assess changes and direction of causal effects, by measuring data at two time points.

Awards won by RC11 members

Ethnicity and Old Age book cover
RC-11 congratulates the President of our research committee, Sandra Torres, whose 2019 book for Policy Press, “Ethnicity & Old Age: Expanding our Imagination”, just won the 2021 Richard M. Kalish Innovative Publication Book Award, which is one of the prizes that the Gerontological Society of America awards on the basis of members' nominations. Congratulations from all of us!

A short video about the book can be found here:
https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/ethnicity-and-old-age

New publications by RC11 members (as sent to us by members)

Books in English

The Evening of Life book cover
Davis, JE & Scherz, P (eds) (2020). The Evening of Life. Notre Dame University Press​. ISBN: 9780268108014.

Although philosophy, religion, and civic cultures used to help people prepare for aging and dying well, this is no longer the case. Today, aging is frequently seen as a problem to be solved and death as a harsh reality to be masked. In part, our cultural confusion is rooted in an inadequate conception of the human person, which is based on a notion of absolute individual autonomy that cannot but fail in the face of the dependency that comes with aging and decline at the
end of life. To help correct the ethical impoverishment at the root of our contemporary social confusion, The Evening of Life provides an interdisciplinary examination of the challenges of aging and dying well. It calls for a re-envisioning of cultural concepts, practices, and virtues that embraces decline, dependency, and finitude rather than stigmatizes them. Bringing together the work of sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, theologians, and medical practitioners, this collection of essays develops an interrelated set of conceptual tools to discuss the current challenges posed to aging and dying well, such as flourishing, temporality, narrative, and friendship. Above all, it proposes a positive understanding of thriving in old age that is rooted in our shared vulnerability as human beings. It also suggests how some of these tools and concepts can be deployed to create a medical system that better responds to our contemporary needs. The Evening of Life will interest bioethicists, medical practitioners, clinicians, and others involved in the care of the aging and dying.

Books in Swedish

Äldreomsorgen i migrationens tidevarv book cover
Torres S & Magnusson, F (eds). (2021). Äldreomsorgen i migrationens tidevarv. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Vad har den internationella migrationen inneburit för äldrevården och omsorgen? Den här boken presenterar forskning om vad den ökande etniska mångfalden innebär för olika välfärdssektorer samt hur äldre invandrare framställs i socialpolitiska, såväl som massmediala sammanhang. Författarna tar upp forskning om hur äldre invandrares ekonomiska situation och hälsosituation ser ut i dag men också vad mångfalden innebär för olika vård- och
omsorgsyrken. Äldrevård och omsorg i migrationens tidevarv vänder sig främst till studerande inom socialt arbete och vid vårdutbildningar men också till yrkesverksamma inom dessa områden. Författarna till boken kommer från skilda akademiska miljöer och har lång erfarenhet av forskning inom olika områden.

Book chapters in English


Martin-Matthews, A. (2021). Age, aging, aged, and ageism under COVID-19. In Lyon, K., Christy, K., & Miniaci, A. (eds.), COVID-19 and Society. Oxford University Press.

The chapter explains how COVID-19 has exacerbated generationalist discourse; Identify how ageism is institutionalized and can intersect with other systems of oppression; Discuss how different generations have been portrayed in COVID-19 media; Describe the role of for-profit/private versus public sectors in providing care for older adults before and during COVID-19; and Imagine a post-pandemic society for all ages.

Torres S & Lindblom J (2021). Migrants in media representations of elder care: ambivalent sentiments. In Repetti M; Calasanti T & Philiipson C. (eds). Ageing and Migration in a Global Context: Challenges for Welfare Societies. Life Course Research and Social Policies, vol 13. Springer, Cham.
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-71442-0_11

International migration and population aging have brought renewed attention to the ethics of care debate and the notion of caring democracy. This discussion problematizes the ways in which different statuses (based on gender, class and/or ethnicity) give people ‘passes’ out of caring responsibilities. This chapter uses this discussion as a backdrop while shedding light on the ways in which migrant status and culture are depicted in Swedish daily newspaper reporting on elder care. Through quantitative and qualitative analyses of all articles published between 1995 and 2017 (n = 370) in two national newspapers, this chapter shows the varying ways in which migration and culture are deployed in these media representations, and how care work is represented as a much needed but highly under-valued activity. Our analyses show that while older migrants are depicted as a burden to the elder care sector, migrant care workers are described as the solution par excellence to the staff crisis that this sector is experiencing, and are, as such, depicted as an asset. By bringing attention to these opposing representations, this chapter questions whether Sweden can be regarded as a caring democracy.

Articles in English


Aaltonen, M., Martin-Matthews, A., Puïkki, J., Eskola, P., Jolanki, O. (2021). Experiences of people with memory disorders and their spouse carers on influencing formal care: ‘They ask my wife questions that they should ask me’. Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice.
https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1471301221994300

People with memory disorders often need care and help from family carers and health and social care providers. Due to the deterioration of cognitive capacity and language skills, they may be unable to convey their thoughts and care preferences to other people. As a result, their agency may become restricted. We investigated the descriptions provided by people with memory disorders and spousal carers of their influence on care in encounters with formal care providers. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to identify, analyze, and report themes that describe encounters with professionals in different social or healthcare environments. In-depth interview data were gathered from 19 spouse carers and 15 persons with memory disorders.Three themes out of four describe how people with memory disorders and their spouse carers influence formal care: Acquiescence, negotiating care decisions, and taking control. The fourth theme describes lack of influence. People with memory disorders and their spouse carers have ways to influence care, but spouse carers identified more ways of doing so. Both either accepted and followed the care guidelines by the formal carers or took control of the situation and made their own decisions. Spouse carers also sought to influence care decisions through negotiations with formal carers. When formal carers’ decisions were experienced as inconsistent or the rationale of their actions difficult to follow, the possibilities to influence care were limited. People with memory disorders and their family carers are often in a disadvantaged position as they lack power over the health and social care decision-making during the illness, which is often guided by structural factors. To support the agency of people with memory disorders and to promote shared decision-making, clarification of the service structure and clearer communication between the different parties involved in care are required.

Aaltonen, M., Sakamoto, M., El Adam, S., Martin-Matthews, A., McGrail, K., Strumpf, E. (2020). Dementia and poor continuity of primary care delay hospital discharge in older adults – a population-based study from 2001 to 2016. Journal of American Medical Directors Association.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2020.11.030

Delayed discharge, remaining in acute care longer than medically necessary, reflects less than optimal use of hospital care resources and can have negative implications for patients. We studied (1) the change over time in delayed discharge in people with and without dementia, and (2) the association of delayed discharge with discharge destination and with the continuity of primary care prior to urgent admission. Delayed discharge after urgent admission and length of delayed discharge were studied in all hospital users aged ≥70 years with at least 1 urgent admission in British Columbia, Canada, in years 2001/02, 2005/06, 2010/11, and 2015/16 (N = 276,299). Linked administrative data provided by Population Data BC were analyzed using generalized estimating equations (GEE), logistic regression analysis, and negative binomial regression analyses. Delayed discharge increased among people with dementia and decreased among people without dementia, whereas the length of delay decreased among both. Dementia was the strongest predictor of delayed discharge [odds ratio 4.76; 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.59–4.93], whereas waiting for long-term care placement [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.56; 95% CI 1.50–1.62] and dementia (IRR 1.50; 95% CI 1.45–1.54) predicted a higher number of days of delay. Continuity and quantity of care with the same physician before urgent admission was associated with a decreased risk of delayed discharge, especially in people with dementia. This study demonstrates the need for better system integration and patient-centered care especially for people with dementia. Population aging will likely increase the number of patients at risk of delayed discharge. Delayed discharge is associated with both the patient's complex needs and the inability of the system to meet these needs during and after urgent care. Sufficient investments are needed in both primary care and long-term care resources to reduce delayed discharges.

Aartsen M; Walsh K; Villar F; Lowenstein A; Katz R; Naim SP; Motel-Klingebiel A; Wanka A; Urbaniak A; Hansen T; & Vidovićová L (2021). Exclusion from Social Relations in Later Life and the Role of Gender: A Heuristic Model. Gender a Výzkum / Gender and Research, 22(1), pp.16–35.
https://doi.org/10.13060/gav.2021.005

Being socially connected is a universal human need, but a substantial number of older men and women are or become excluded from these connections in later life. Exclusion from social relations (ESR) is unwanted as it undermines people's ability to lead a healthy, active, and independent life. Policies to reduce this form of exclusion have been limited in effectiveness, due in part to a broader lack of knowledge about the dynamics of social exclusion in older ages and the intersection of social exclusion with gender constructions. To advance our understanding of ESR in later life, we develop a heuristic model based on theories and previous empirical studies. Considering the gendered constructing forces of ESR in older age that can potentially lead to loneliness and reduced health and wellbeing, the model identifies individual drivers, such as biopsychosocial conditions, personal standards and life- -course transitions, and macro-level drivers, such as norms and welfare state provisions. This model can serve as a conceptual platform for further theoretical development and empirical study on the gendered construction of ESR in later life. While our focus is on drivers of ESR and its outcomes, potential reversed effects are also discussed.

Barnwell A, Neves BB, Ravn S (2021). Captured and captioned: Representing Family Life on Instagram, New Media & Society
https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211012791

This article examines how practices of family photography are being transformed in the digital sphere, specifically on Instagram. While research on ‘digital intimacies’ focusses on romantic or peer interactions, the digital practices of families – especially intergenerational interactions – remain understudied. We use Janet Finch’s notion of ‘family display’ to consider how Instagram affords new modes of performing and sharing family life. This concept has exciting potential for media-rich online spaces, but so far, only a few studies examine how social media platforms extend the display of family practices. To explore family photography on Instagram, we analyse a sample of 200 Instagram posts. We argue that features specific to photo-sharing in digital spaces, such as hashtags, emojis and captions, open up new aspects of and audiences for family display. Our analysis paves the way for future research about how relationships are displayed across a range of digital platforms.

Coghlan S, Waycott J, Lazar A, Neves BB (2021). Dignity, Autonomy, and Style of Company: Dimensions Older Adults Consider for Robot Companions, CSCW, ACM 5, 1–25.
https://doi.org/10.1145/3449178

Research into companion robots for older adults, including those who are socially isolated and lonely, continues to grow. Although some insight into older adults' preferences for various robotic types and functionality is emerging, we lack research examining how these robots fulfil or challenge a range of values and aspirations individuals have in later life. This study examines the attitudes and perspectives of 16 older adults (aged 65+) living independently but alone in their own homes, who were interviewed and shown videos depicting three distinctive companion robots: a talking assistant; a roving toylike vehicle; and a robotic dog. This approach illuminated values, preferences, and needs amongst older people that are vital for understanding the potential of companion robots. In comparing the robots, participants expressed concerns about the impact of different companion robots on their abilities and skills, their sense of autonomy and control over their lives, and the maintenance of several kinds of dignity. These results inform user-centered design and use of companion robots for older people living alone and independently.

Cohn-Schwartz, E., Levinsky M., & Litwin H. (2021). Social network type and subsequent cognitive health among older Europeans. International Psychogeriatrics. 33(5), 495-504.
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220003439

One’s personal social network constitutes a contextual framing factor for late-life cognitive function. This study examined the association between network type at baseline and changes in three cognitive measures: immediate recall, delayed recall, and fluency, two years hence, among Europeans aged 50 and older. Data were taken from Waves four and five of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe of adults aged 50 and above (N = 50,071). The latent class analysis was applied to a set of criterion variables. The procedure yielded five distinct network types: multi-tie (6%), family-rich (23%), close-family (49%), family-poor (12%), and friend-enhanced (10%). The network types were then regressed on the cognition measures at follow-up, controlling for the respective baseline cognition scores, as well as for age, gender, education, self-rated health, mobility difficulty, and country. Respondents in family-poor network types had poorer cognition scores at follow-up, compared to those in the modal close-family network, while those in multi-tie networks had consistently better scores. The family-rich network and the friend-enhanced network also had a somewhat better cognitive function. Having varied sources of network ties, e.g. friendship ties and/or several types of family relationships, is beneficial to the cognitive health of older adults over time. Networks based mainly on ties with relatives other than spouse and children, on the other hand, have poorer cognitive outcomes. Older people in this latter group face an increased risk for cognitive decline and should receive assistance in enhancing their interpersonal environments.

Cohn-Schwartz, E., & Ayalon, L. (2021). COVID-19 protective behaviors: The role of living arrangements and localities. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40(8), 799-803.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464821992611

Guided by the human-ecological model, we aimed to identify contextual factors related to protective behaviors during the COVID-19 outbreak. Data are based on a nationally representative survey of adults aged 50+ in Israel during the COVID-19 outbreak (N = 1,019). Regression models predicted three behaviors: using hand sanitizers and masks, stocking up food, and avoiding social meetings. The independent variables were living arrangements (microsystems) and type of localities (macrosystems). Participants who lived alone or lived in rural localities were less likely to adopt protective measures. Policy makers should pay particular attention to adults who live alone or live in rural areas as they might be less likely to adopt protective behaviors and face higher health risks during the pandemic.

Cohn-Schwartz, E., Segel-Karpas, D. & Ayalon, L. (2021). Longitudinal dyadic effects of aging self-perceptions on health. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Science, 76(5), 900–909.
https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbaa082

Adults’ perceptions of aging are known to affect their mental and physical health. However, not much is known about how perceptions of aging within the couple-unit affect each member of the unit. Therefore, the current study explores the effects of husbands’ and wives’ self-perceptions of aging (SPA) on each other’s physical and mental health, both directly and indirectly, through impacting each other’s SPA. The study used data from the Health and Retirement Study, focusing on couples aged 50 and older. Self-rated health and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) were used as indicators of physical and mental health. SPA was measured using the “Attitudes toward aging” subscale of the “Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale.” An actor–partner interdependence mediation model was used to examine the effects of the 2008 SPA of couples on each other’s 2012 SPA and 2016 health. The SPA of both husbands and wives was associated with their own future mental and physical health in 2016, but not with that of their partner. However, their SPA was associated with their partner’s health indirectly, by influencing the SPA of the partner. That is, the SPA of both husbands and wives in 2008 impacted their partner’s SPA in 2012, which was subsequently related to that partner’s mental and physical health in 2016. Older couples can influence each other’s health indirectly, by affecting each other’s SPA. This indicates that adults’ SPA are interconnected, and thus, the entire couple-unit should be targeted to enhance positive SPA.

Cohn-Schwartz, E., Roth, A. R., & Widmer, E. D. (2021). Joint social contact and network overlap of spouses facing later adulthood household transitions in Switzerland. Advances in Life Course Research, 48, 100395.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcr.2020.100395

Personal network overlap and joint social contact of spouses have positive implications for social support and marital quality. Although these collective aspects of marriage constitute a valuable resource for couples, the factors impacting them during the later stages of life are underexplored. When faced with critical role losses in later life one compensatory mechanism for internal continuity is to jointly invest in relational dimensions of one’s marriage. Accordingly, this research hypothesizes that some later adulthood transitions lead to greater overlap in conjugal networks and more joint contact between partners. Using two waves of data from a nationally representative sample of Swiss couples, it was found that both transitions of children leaving the household and retirement were related to increases in personal network overlap and shared social contact between partners but differently for male and female partners. Results are discussed in the light of mechanisms promoted by continuity theory.

Cozza M; Gallistl V; Wanka A; Manchester H & Moreira T (2021). Ageing as a Boundary Object. Thinking Differently of Ageing and Care. Technoscienza 11 (2), pp. 117-138.

Ageing is not only a chronological matter. The following contributions at the crossroad of STS, material gerontology, design, and medical sociology offer alternative views on ageing and care. Ageing emerges as a boundary object through which authors explore the relationship with technologies and technology-based processes and practices. Authors point out that becoming older is a sociomaterial process and emphasize the importance of thinking with care when designing technology as well as the relevance of the socio-technical imaginary in conceptualizing older people.

Hellström I & Torres S. (2021). Couplehood as a compass: spousal perspectives on the diminished everyday competence of partners. Dementia: The Int’l. Journal of Social Research and Practice,
https://doi.org/10.1177/1471301221997306

Research on spousal relations and caregiving, when one of the persons in the dyad has a dementia diagnosis, has recognized that the degree of diminished everyday competence (DEC) the person with dementia is experiencing has implications for these relations and for how spousal caregiving is ultimately experienced. The present exploratory study uses an inductive approach to analyze data from 22 qualitative interviews with and observation notes on couples living with dementia to shed light on the ways in which the person without dementia views the DEC his/her partner is experiencing. The findings show that spouses can choose to disregard their partners’ DEC or to acknowledge it in either an egocentric or a couple-centered way; they also show that spouses’ choice of approach does not seem to be dictated by how cognitively impaired their partners have become. This suggests that spouses’ approach to partners’ DEC deserves more of our attention as it could have implications not only for transitions into spousal caregiving but also for caregiving experiences as such.

Herrera MS, Elgueta R, Fernández MB, Giacoman C, Leal D, Marshall P, Rubio M, Bustamante F (2021). A longitudinal study monitoring the quality of life in a national cohort of older adults in Chile before and during the COVID-19 outbreak. BMC Geriatrics, 21(143), 1-12.
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02110-3

Confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic has placed great stress on older adults, which may be affecting their quality of life. Thus, this study aims to describe the changes in mental and physical health, isolation and loneliness, residence and socioeconomic resources in a national cohort of Chilean older adults before and during the COVID-19 outbreak. It also analyzes the changes in depressive symptoms by changes in the other quality of life indicators before and during the COVID-19 outbreak. Possible methodological biases of telephone surveys in older adults living in non-developed countries are also discussed.

Between June and September 2020, a random subsample of 720 people who had participated in the face-to-face V National Survey on Quality of Life in Older Adults in Chile conducted at the end of 2019 was followed up by telephone. Descriptive bivariate analyses were performed using t-test and non-parametric tests for independent variables, comparing the baseline sample with the current 2020 follow-up sample during the peak of the pandemic outbreak in Latin America. Furthermore, descriptive bivariate analysis through t-test and non-parametric test for paired samples compared the follow-up subsample at baseline with the not-included sample, examining possible biases of the telephone interview compared with the face-to-face interview.

In the panel, there was no variation in self-rated health. The health symptoms that worsened were memory, stomach, and mood problems. Depressive symptoms and anxiety increased; similarly, smartphone users, social contacts, intergenerational co-residence and resilience increased. The telephone follow-up sample had a higher educational level and greater smartphone use than those not included in the subsample. Although some physical and mental health indicators have worsened during the pandemic, older adults mobilized resources that could allow them to maintain their quality of life, such as improved resilience. Thus, these findings can guide future research and the development of efficient strategies to improve these resources among older adults to ensure wellbeing.

Kahveci, C., Karacan, E., & Kosnick, K. (2020). Tactical mobility: navigating mobile ageing and transnational retirement between Turkey and Germany. A comparison between Turkish-German and German retirees. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(15), 3157-3173.
https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1724532

Retirement migration from Germany to Turkey is practiced by both former labour migrants from Turkey who spent their working lives in Germany, and by German retirees without prior migration backgrounds who have discovered Turkey as a retirement destination in the context of tourism. This article presents findings from the empirical investigation of cross-border mobility patterns and motivations among both groups of retirees who are mobile between Germany and popular tourist destinations in the district of Antalya in Turkey. We argue in this article that mobile ageing practices not only exhibit similarities across the two groups, but are also significantly shaped by conditions over which both groups exercise very limited or no control. Economic inequalities, legal insecurities and health imponderabilities emerged as relevant dimensions in our research. Examining how mobile retirees cope with these, we suggest the concept of tactical mobility to make sense of their cross-border migration practices and the reasonings that undergird them.

Lindblom J. & Torres S. (2021). Othering in media representations of elderly care: using the social justice framework to make sense of public discourses on migrants and culture. Social Policy and Society, pp. 1 – 17.
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474746421000154

Population ageing and international migration are two of the major societal trends challenging European elderly care regimes at present. Virtually no research has addressed how public discourses about the implications of these trends for elderly care are shaped in different countries. This article addresses this knowledge gap, examining how Swedish daily newspapers (SvD and DN) reporting on elderly care between 1995 and 2017 (N=370) depicts the impact of increased ethno-cultural diversity on this sector. Through content analysis, this article brings attention to the representations of migrants and culture that this reporting has deployed, and the rhetorical practices that the reporting has relied on (i.e. genre stratification, hegemonisation, homogenisation, normative referencing and idealisation/ diminishment). The article exposes how the ‘Othering’ of migrants is accomplished in Sweden’s daily newspaper reporting on elderly care, and problematizes the ethea of inclusiveness and equality of care with which we have come to associate this welfare sector.

Torrejón, M.J. & Martin-Matthews, A. (2021). Public policy and experiences of aging: Social relationships and social integration in Chilean policy on aging. Journal of Aging & Social Policy.
https://doi.org/10.1080/08959420.2020.1851430

This study uses an interpretive narrative approach to compare and contrast assumptions regarding social integration (participation in meaningful and multiple roles, and engagement in social networks) as promoted in the Chilean Comprehensive Policy for Positive Aging, with the expectations of interviewees aged 60 to 74 years. The Policy assumes specific forms of social integration by: offering different options of social integration to dependent vs. independent older people, encouraging autonomy and self-management, and assuming the primacy of family responsibility in older people’s care. Both the Policy and the interviewees emphasize the value of autonomy and independence in old age; the latter, however, do not place family at the frontline when care is needed. Understanding the matches and gaps between policy assumptions and older people’s expectations for social integration, including the role of family caregiving, can open new possibilities to prevent social isolation and promote different forms of social support that are valued by older adults for their emotional and practical benefit.

Tong, C.E., McKay, H.A., Martin-Matthews, A., Mahmood, A. Sims-Gould, J. (2020). ‘These few blocks, these are my village’: The physical activity and mobility of foreign-born older adults. The Gerontologist, 60(4): 638-65.
https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz005

The self-reported health of foreign-born older adults (FBOAs) is lower than that of nonimmigrant peers. Physical activity (PA) and mobility enhance health in older age, yet we know very little about the PA and mobility of FBOAs. In this analysis we sought to determine: (a) What factors facilitate PA amongst FBOAs? and (b) How do gender, culture, and personal biography affect participants' PA and mobility? We worked closely with community partners to conduct a mixed-method study in Vancouver, Canada. Eighteen visible minority FBOAs completed an in-depth interview in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, or Hindi. Three dominant factors promote participants' PA and mobility: (a) participants walk for well-being and socialization; (b) participants have access to a supportive social environment, which includes culturally familiar and linguistically accessible shops and services; and (c) gender and personal biography, including work history and a desire for independence, affect their PA and mobility behaviors. We extend the Webber et al. mobility framework, with examples that further articulate the role of gender (e.g., domestic work), culture (cultural familiarity) and personal biography (work history and a desire for familial independence). Future programming to support the PA of FBOAs should be culturally familiar and linguistically accessible.

Neves BB & Mead G (2020). Digital Technology and Older People: Towards a Sociological Approach to Technology Adoption in Later Life, Sociology.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038520975587

Despite increasing social pressure to use new digital technologies, older people’s adoption of them remains below other age groups. This article contributes a sociological dimension to exploring what facilitates learning and using digital technology in later life. We focus on the understudied group of older people who are frail, living in care homes and most likely to be digitally excluded or restricted. Drawing on data from a longitudinal mixed methods study of a co-designed communication app for older people, we explore how attempts to bridge the ‘digital divide’ unfold in time. Using the concept of affordances, we show how adoption of a new communication technology is shaped by its design, learning contexts and surrounding social actors. With this work we contribute to novel sociological understandings of technology adoption that are critical for digital inequality research.

Neves BB & Mead G (2020). Mixing methods and sciences: A longitudinal cross-disciplinary mixed methods study on technology to address social isolation and loneliness in later life, Journal of Mixed Methods Research.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689820977646

Despite a growing interest in longitudinal mixed methods research, the literature offers few examples of complex designs. To evaluate a communication-based technology to address social isolation and loneliness in later life, we conducted two long-term studies in aged-care homes. We used a longitudinal convergent mixed methods design and a cross-disciplinary approach that employed techniques from social and computer sciences to ensure a comprehensive evaluation. While cross-disciplinary mixed methods research is also growing, a discussion of its methodological practices, challenges, and strategies is still scarce. This article contributes to mixed methods research by providing lessons learned on how cross-disciplinary mixed studies can be designed and integrated from collection to interpretation, particularly when combining convergent and longitudinal approaches. We also show the value of “design-in-action”—that is, the refinement and adjustment of techniques throughout research, as methods “talk to each other.”

Neves BB, Wilson J, Sanders S, Kokanovic R (2021). Using crystallization to understand loneliness in later life: integrating social science and creative narratives in sensitive qualitative research, Qualitative Research.
https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941211005943

This article draws on crystallization, a qualitative framework developed by Laurel Richardson and Laura Ellingson, to show the potential of using sociological narratives and creative writing to better analyze and represent the lived experiences of loneliness among older people living in Australian care homes. Crystallization uses a multi-genre approach to study and present social phenomena. At its core is a concern for the ethics of representation, which is critical when engaging with vulnerable populations. We use two case studies from research on loneliness to illustrate an application of crystallization through different narrative types. To supplement our sociological narratives, we invited author Josephine Wilson to write creative narratives based on the case studies. Josephine was awarded the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2017 for Extinctions, a novel exploring themes such as later life and loneliness. By contrasting the two approaches—sociological and creative narratives—we discuss the implications of crystallization for qualitative research.

Sin J, Franz R, Munteanu C, Neves BB (2021). Digital Design Marginalization: New Perspectives on Designing Inclusive Interfaces, CHI, ACM, pp. 1–11.
https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445180

We conceptualize Digital Design Marginalization (DDM) as the process in which a digital interface design excludes certain users and contributes to marginalization in other areas of their lives. Due to non-inclusive designs, many underrepresented users face barriers in accessing essential services that are moving increasingly, sometimes exclusively, online – services such as personal finance, healthcare, social connectivity, and shopping. This can further perpetuate the “digital divide,” a technology-based form of social inequality that has offline consequences. We introduce the term Marginalizing Design to describe designs that contribute to DDM. In this paper, we focus on the impact of Marginalizing Design on older adults through examples from our research and discussions of services that may have marginalizing designs for older adults. Our aim is to provide a conceptual lens for designers, service providers, and policy makers through which they can use to purposely lessen or avoid digitally marginalizing groups of users.

Vogelsang EM & Polonijo, AN (2021). Social Determinants of Shingles Vaccination in the United States, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, gbab074.
https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbab074

Only about one-third of older adults in the United States are vaccinated against shingles, contributing to approximately 1 million shingles cases annually. This study examines how sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, and self-rated health are associated with shingles vaccine uptake. Data come from the 2017 wave of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, using a subset of older adults aged 60-plus (N = 208,301). Logistic regression models test (a) for associations between individual-level sociodemographic characteristics and vaccine uptake and (b) whether health behaviors and self-rated health moderate these associations. Black and Hispanic older adults have almost 50% lower odds of shingles vaccination, compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Abstaining from alcohol, being employed, living with children, and having poor self-rated health are also associated with lower uptake. Unmarried (vs married) individuals have lower odds of vaccination that are explained by broad differences in health behavior. Our study contributes to understanding how shingles vaccination coverage systematically differs among social groups. In doing so, it provides guidance for public health interventions to increase uptake. This line of research is increasingly salient in a world facing novel virus threats and antivaccine social movements.

Watanabe D (2021). Understanding Diversity in Later Life and a New Culture of Aging: Sociology of Aging in Japan, International Sociology 36 (2): 243–53.
https://doi.org/10.1177/02685809211005355

This essay introduces sociological studies on aging and related topics in Japan since 2000. It argues the three following points. First, the results of sociological studies on aging, and those from related social science disciplines, have moved away from a uniform understanding of aging to reveal greater diversity in the process. Second, it has become apparent that older people face various social problems, such as social isolation, social disparities, and family care problems. Studies have argued that it is essential to support mutual aid in the community. Finally, the reflexivity of high modernity attempts to push the problem of aging towards autonomy, but a new culture of aging assumes that dependence has the potential to overcome this reflexivity.

Articles in German

Höppner G & Wanka A (2021). un/doing age: Multiperspektivität als Potential einer intersektionalen Betrachtung von Differenz- und Ungleichheitsverhältnissen. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 50 (1), pp. 42-57.
https://doi.org/10.1515/zfsoz-2021-0005

Current sociological debates about the construction of categories of social difference as well as their interdependencies and the accompanying production of social inequalities adopt predominantly intersectional approaches. Criticism of such approaches focus primarily on a limited range of already well-researched categories of social difference as well as processes of their construction (doings), whereas processes of their deconstruction (undoings) tend to be neglected. This paper addresses both points of criticism in order to enhance intersectional theory building. To do so, it focuses on the construction of age as a category and ‘metric’ of social difference (doing age) instead of the traditional triad of race, class, and gender. Based on this, the concept of undoing age is introduced. To make age as a category of social difference accessible to intersectional analysis, the paper, in conclusion, develops a multi-perspective framework.

PRESIDENT

Sandra Torres, Uppsala University, Sweden


VICE-PRESIDENTS

Lucie Vidovićová, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

TREASURER

Esteban Calvo, Universidad Mayor, Chile

SECRETARY

Myra Hamilton, University of New South Wales, Australia

NEWSLETTER EDITOR

Anna Wanka, University of Frankfurt, Germany

OFFICERS AT LARGE

Debora Price, University of Manchester, UK
Candace L. Kemp, Georgia State University, USA
Arvind Kumar Joshi, BHU Varanasi, India
Ilkka Pietila, University of Helsinki, Finland
Luke Gahan, La Trobe University, Australia
Ito Peng, University of Toronto, Canada
Martin Hyde, Swansea University, Wales
Francesco Barbabella, Linnaeus University, Sweden
Wendy Martin, Brunel University, UK
Ignacio Madero-Cabib, University of Chile

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