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From the President

Dear RC-11 community members,

Hope this finds you all well! 2022 started not only with the prolongation of the pandemic in some parts of the world, but also with Russian’s invasion of the sovereign country that is the Ukraine. In a globalized world such as ours it is impossible to disregard the consequences that crises such as these ones bring to our lives. If we are fortunate enough to be able to have choice we sometimes have to try our very best to stay calm and carry on (as Brits often say).
Photo of Sandra Torres
Some of us need to keep busy in order to cope with challenging times. Knowing that we are making a contribution to our world through the work we do as educators, researchers, policy makers or practitioners in the field of aging can also offer some comfort in troubling times. Thus, by bringing together the content you sent our way, we hope to be able to bring you some inspiration. Sharing information with our RC-11 friends is namely what these newsletters are about so let me begin by thanking everyone who sent us content, and encouraging those who have yet to share their work with us to do that in the future.

Speaking of information sharing, over the past three years, our communications officer, Anna Wanka, has been the person responsible for bringing our newsletters together. Unfortunately, Anna has decided to step-down from that role. Our next newsletter will be put together by a new RC -11 executive committee member, Vera Gallistl. We welcome Vera to our team, and encourage you to read the short presentation we have asked her to write in order to introduce herself. Anna has done a great job managing this newsletter as well as our website and Social Media, so we thank Anna for the service she has provided to our community over the past few years.

Together with RC-11’s secretary, Myra Hamilton, Anna will continue to serve our community in the capacity of program coordinator for ISA’s 20th World Congress of Sociology, which will be held between June 25th and July 1st of next year in Melbourne, Australia and will be a hybrid conference [For more information see: XX ISA World Congress of Sociology (isa-sociology.org)]. We thank both Anna and Myra in advance for the work they have already done in putting together our RC’s program for that conference. Our global community of old-age-focused educators, researchers, policy makers and practitioners need not, however, wait until next year to meet. This summer has been packed with several events that have offered (and will offer) ample opportunities to connect with one another.

First up we had the 26th Nordic Congress of Gerontology, which was held between June 8th and June 10th in Odense, Denmark [NKG - Welcome (26nkg.dk)]. This conference was hosted by the Danish Society of Gerontology, the Danish Geriatric Society, and the Nordic Gerontological Federation. Two days after that congress ended, the 22nd World Congress of the Int’l. Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) began. This one was arranged online by the Argentine Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (SAGG) and the Argentine Gerontological Association (AGA). Here you can find more information about that event and since all of the sessions were pre-recorded you can still access them on their site: Home Site - XXII Congreso Mundial de Gerontología y Geriatría (iagg2022.org)]. Between July 6th and 8th, the BSG Annual Conference: British Society of Gerontology (britishgerontology.org) was held (also online) and between July 13 – 15th, the 6th Midterm Conference of RN01 - Ageing in Europe | European Sociological Association (europeansociology.org) met. There are, in other words, many events being hosted either online or on this side of the globe at the moment, which have offered some of us much appreciated opportunities to re-connect with one another and hear about the latest research we are all involved in.

As it is always the case when I write columns like this, I can only mention what we have been made aware of so although the next couple of months will be busy for some of us, we know that there will most likely be other gatherings around the globe that have not been brought to our attention. Irrespective of where you end up meeting members of the RC-11 community in 2022, do remember that most conferences these days give access to their programs through their websites, and that these programs offer a wealth of information if you are trying to identify collaborators who share your interests. Worth noting is also perhaps that most conferences these days are either offered completely online or rely on a hybrid format, and that this is one of the silver linings that the pandemic brought with it. Thus, although some of us prefer attending conferences the old fashioned way, we are grateful that online gatherings are offering us a more inclusive and affordable way of bringing our scientific community together.

Something else worth mentioning is that our research committee joined forces with Jan Marie Fritz and Rosemary Barberet (who are ISA’s UN representatives), Namita Gupta (who is President of ISA’s TG03 Human Rights and Global Justice), Emma Porio (President of RC46 Clinical Sociology), Melanie Heath (President of RC32 Women, Gender and Society) and Christiana Constantopoulou (President of RC14 Sociology of Communication, Knowledge and Culture) and secured ISA’s signature on a letter sent to the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing in support of the Convention for the Rights of Older People. Lobbying for this mechanism has been ongoing for over a decade, which is why we wanted ISA to sign up the petition. We are very happy that we managed to get ISA onboard on this, and would like to encourage anyone who has not yet offered their support for this convention to visit the website of The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People where you can sign up the petition yourself: https://rightsofolderpeople.org/.

On a final note let me also mention that the Gerontological Society of America’s Interest Group on International Aging and Migration offered a webinar in late May on the precarious situation in which older adults find themselves due to the Russian war on the Ukraine. Several of our members contributed to the webinar either as speakers or as attendees, which was nice to see! Before bringing this column to an end, and wishing everyone a nice summer or winter holiday depending on where in the globe you happen to be, let me therefore draw attention to the older people that have been displaced due to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. In the webinar mentioned here we learned, among other things, that research on displaced people seldom recognizes the special needs of the older segments of these populations. Thus, if you happen to have the resources necessary to contribute to a charity offering relief to war victims either in the Ukraine or anywhere else in the world that is affected by a senseless armed conflict, keep in mind that older people are particularly affected by these conflicts and need our help.

Warmest regards (hoping to hear or see you in the near future!),
Sandra Torres
President of RC-11

PS: Please remember that you are always welcome 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 a member is highly appreciated!

ISA News

ISA World Congress of Sociology logo

News on the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Melbourne / Australia, June 25 - July 1 2023

Five years after our last in-person meeting in Toronto (2018), we will be eager to meet each other again and enjoy the meaningful exchanges that take place in a world congress and that we missed so much in the online meetings of the past two years.

Considering possible reluctance to travel for various reasons, the ISA Executive Committee decided that the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology will be in a limited hybrid format. It should be emphasized, however, that the 2023 Congress will be primarily an on-site event and our commitment is to provide the best conditions for a successful meeting in Melbourne.

The conditions presented in 2020 by the Australian Local Organizing Committee when the Executive Committee took the decision to hold an on-site Congress in 2023 haven’t changed. The ISA must ensure at least 3,000 on-site participants to receive the substantial venue cost subsidy, and must provide the required software and hardware for a hybrid format conference, which are very expensive.

In this perspective, the Executive Committee wants to encourage as many participants as possible to join us in person in Melbourne. Therefore, we propose the below rules:
  • Oral sessions (regular and joint sessions of RC/WG/TG, Integrative Sessions): may include virtual presentations but must include 80% in-person presentations to qualify for a hybrid format. Otherwise, they will be virtual sessions. The session format will be decided after the early registration deadline (March 22, 2023). Chair/co-chairs of the sessions as well as Program Coordinator must be present in-person on-site. To foster a lively exchange we also encourage Program Coordinators to invite discussants who will be present on-site in Melbourne.
  • The below listed sessions will have in-person format only, but will be available by webinar:
  • Roundtable Sessions (concurrent running roundtable presentations in one room)
  • Poster Sessions
  • Ad Hoc sessions
  • Sessions of National and Regional Associations
  • Professional Development Sessions
Abstracts’ submitters must specify a preferred format of presentation in an oral session: on-site or virtual. It is therefore important to specify to all potential presenters that 80% of them are expected to come to Melbourne.

It will be possible to change from in-person to online presentation (and vice versa) two weeks before the start of Congress. Last-minute changes in the form of presentations are inevitable and will not affect the previously assigned session format.

Registration fees are the same for in-person and online presentations and cover participation in all types of sessions.

Registration Grants for ISA’s World Congress

ISA members in good standing (i.e. who have paid their individual membership fees) who participate in the program (presenters, chairs, discussants, session organizers) are eligible to apply for a registration grant. An e-mail requesting a registration grant must be sent by the participants directly to the RC/WG/TG Program Coordinators by January 31, 2023. Applications for a grant cannot be submitted to more than one RC/WG/TG.

ISA membership grants for students

Grants will be paid from the ISA Reserve Fund. Each RC/WG/TG can allocate ISA membership grants for up to 3 students from category A countries and up to 5 students from category B and C countries. Get in touch with your RC/WG/TG Program Coordinators at the earliest convenience but no later than December 1, 2022.

ISA RC11 Sessions at the XX World Congress

As Program Coordinators of RC11, Myra Hamilton and Anna Wanka had the difficult task to decide on a list of sessions to issue Calls for Contributions for RC11 Sociology of Aging. We are excited to present our members with the following list of 21 sessions to submit your abstracts to:
Submission of abstracts opened until July 1, 2022.

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

The Socio-gerontechnology network (SGN) becomes a formal association

Socio-gerontechnology network members
The Socio-gerontechnology network brings together scholars from various social science and design disciplines interested in critical studies of ageing and technology. The network started from a joint interest of scholars in Science and Technology Studies – beginning to see ageing as an important field for critical studies of technology – and Ageing Scholars – beginning to see digitisation and technology as important but under-researched elements of ageing and later life. Our aim is to provide critical social science insights into ageing and technology that will lead to better policies and designs for older people in a digitising world. This year, the network is building a stronger and more professional organization; as of May 2022 it is a formal association under Dutch law registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (“vereniging met volledige rechtsbevoegheid”). This includes the collection of membership fees to provide our members with more benefits.

Find out more about the network and how to become a member here: https://www.socio-gerontechnology.net/
Follow the network on twitter: https://twitter.com/socgerontech

Lately, the Socio-Gerontechnology network has established its first Special Interest Group on “Algorithms, AI and Big Data in Socio-Gerontechnology”. The group meets regularly to discuss the relational terrain between Ageing, Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence, discuss current publications and prepare joint conference presentations and publications on these topics.

If you want to join, let Vera Gallistl know: vera.gallistl@kl.ac.at

The Linking Ages Network (LA)

Linking Ages Network logo
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. To establish a transdisciplinary network of childhood and later life experts we created the Linking Ages Salon. Each Salon focuses on a different topic that is relevant for both research fields, aiming to contrast existing concepts and studies in childhood and ageing research and link our perspectives towards a different approach for future research.

We are looking forward to seeing you there to join the conversation! If you want to do so, please get in touch with Tabea Freutel-Funke: freutel-funke@em.uni-frankfurt.de

Call for positions (as sent to us by members)

Fully funded PhD position care/ technologies/ end of life

We are looking for a PhD candidate who is intrigued by the complex intersections between care, technologies and end of life. The PhD position is part of the research project “(Im-)possibilities of letting life end. An ethnography of medical specialist practices”. The overall project provides an ethnography of the ways in which in the clinical practices of medical specialties non-life prolonging treatment and care are made possible. It consists of two case studies each focusing on one medical speciality in a clinical setting in Switzerland. One case study will be carried out by the principal investigator and one by the selected PhD researcher. The case studies might trace, for instance, how in the mundane goings-on of providing health care to patients with life-limiting, -threatening or chronic diseases in a hospital, “conservative management”, “supportive treatment”, or “palliative care” are made thinkable, discussed and implemented. The case studies might also follow the activities that physicians undertake to increase possibilities for providing non-life prolonging treatment and care in the structures they are embedded in (e.g. writing guidelines, producing scientific evidence, teaching specialist palliative care courses). Or they might zoom in on the scripts that are embedded in life-prolonging technologies, treatment protocols, in scores and indicators that are used in clinical practice. More generally, the project seeks to articulate emergences of novel forms of “good” medical care at the beginning of the 21st century.

The PhD candidate is expected to:
  • carry out a case study that investigates the ways in which non-life prolonging treatment and care are made possible in one specific medical specialty (that is neither paediatrics nor oncology)
  • collect qualitative data in Switzerland
  • complete a dissertation for a PhD degree at the University of St.Gallen
  • present research outputs at conferences
  • organize a workshop with the PI
Your profile:
  • fulfilment of the formal admission criteria of the DOK-Program
  • two year Master's degree (or equivalent qualification) in STS, Sociology, or neighbouring disciplines
  • documented experience with and/or well described interest in the fields of medical STS, medical sociology or medical anthropology
  • documented experience with qualitative methods, in particular ethnography and interviews
  • fluency in English and either German or French
  • the ability to work autonomously and collaborate in teams
We offer:
  • ongoing supervision by Dr. Anna Mann, the PI of the project, and Prof. Tanja Schneider, the formal supervisor
  • opportunity to enrol in the DOK-Program of the University of St. Gallen (discipline: Technology Studies, SHSS)
  • scientific engagement in national and international networks
  • opportunity to conduct research that is both, theoretically innovative and practically relevant
  • salary in accordance with the guidelines of the SNSF
Application: Please submit through the link below before the 9th August 2022:
  • CV
  • letter of application describing your motivation and experience
  • a document (max 2 pages) that describes which 3 questions you find important to investigate empirically and analytically in a project on (im-)possibilities of letting life end in medical specialist practices
  • writing sample (e.g. chapter of your Master's thesis, article,...)
  • copy of Master's degree diploma*
  • names and contact details of two persons to serve as referees
*If you have not yet completed your Master's thesis, provide a written statement of your Master's thesis supervisor that you will do so before the beginning of the employment.

Interviews are estimated to take place via Zoom in the week 35 (30th August 2022).

The project is based at the Department of Technology Studies at the School for Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) of the University of St.Gallen. It is fully funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

For questions regarding the DOK PhD-Program (Organisation & Culture) at the University St. Gallen, including its formal admission criteria, you can go to:
https://www.unisg.ch/en/forschung/doktorat/organisationundkultur/zulassung
(Please keep in mind that the overall framework, research question and research design are given.)

Apply here: https://jobs.unisg.ch/offene-stellen/fully-funded-phd-position-for-project-on-care-
technologies-end-of-life-m-w-d/17021046-3e29-4868-b0e3-5ec7d4cc9fa0

Fully-funded postdoctoral position on ageing and place

The Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main is one of the largest universities in Germany with around 48,000 students and with about 5,000 employees. Founded in 1914 by Frankfurt citizens and since 2008 once again proud of its foundation status Goethe University possesses a high degree of autonomy, modernity and professional diversity. As a comprehensive university, the Goethe University offers a total of 16 departments on five campuses and more than 100 degree programs along with an outstanding research reputation.

The DFG/ANR-funded research project “The Social Production of Space and Age – A French-German Dialogue towards New Theoretical Approaches and Research Pathways“ (SPAGE) at Goethe University Frankfurt / Main, Faculty for Educational Sciences, Department for Social Pedagogy and Adult Education, working group Interdisciplinary Ageing Research has the following vacancies starting 01.09.2022.

1 Postdoc position (m,f,d) (E13 TV-G-U, 100% full-time) for a period of 3 years. The salary grade is based on the job characteristics of the collective agreement applicable to Goethe University (TV-G-U).

The scope of duties includes 1) the independent conception, realization and publication of a habilitation project in the field of aging and spatial research, 2) a systematic literature research in the German-speaking research field, 3) qualitative data collection and analysis, 4) co-organisation of international concept, analysis and synthesis workshops with scientists and older adults, 5) publication activities and conference presentations within the scope of the project, as well as 6) the establishment of a sustainable research network between Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and the PACTE University Grenoble. In addition, independent research developing and pursuing own questions in the project context is encouraged and supported.

A prerequisite for employment is a very good completed academic university degree as well as a very good completed doctorate in sociology or related social sciences and humanities. Specialisation either in the field of age(n) research and/or spatial research is desirable, as is experience in qualitative empirical social research. Very good knowledge of German and English is a prerequisite, knowledge of French is an advantage but not absolutely necessary.

The Goethe University is committed to a policy of providing equal employment opportunities for both men and women alike, and therefore encourages particularly women to apply for the position/s offered. Individuals with severe disability will be prioritized in case of equal qualification.

Your application documents should include a letter of motivation and a current curriculum vitae. Please send these, as well as any queries, by e-mail by 15.07.2022 to Anna Wanka: wanka@em.uni-frankfurt.de, Goethe University, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6, 60629 Frankfurt/Main.

Calls for abstracts (as sent to by members)

Call for book chapter abstracts on “Linking Ages - A Dialogue between

Childhood and Ageing Research”

Screenshot showing Call for book chapter abstracts on Linking Ages - A Dialogue between Childhood and Ageing Research
Please submit your abstract of 150 – 200 words that should outline the content and themes of the proposed chapter and how it may contribute to the book by 31.07.2022 to Anna Wanka: wanka@em.uni-frankfurt.de

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

Mapping Violence in Later Life: A Material Gerontology Perspective on the Co-Constitution of Violence, Space, and Old(er) Age


Project team: Grit Hoeppner (Catholic University of Applied Sciences NRW), Vera Gallistl (Karl-Landsteiner University Krems) & Anna Wanka (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Funding: Minerva Center on Intersectionality in Aging (MCIA)
Duration: 2022

Although violence in later life has been increasingly focused on in violence research since the 1990s, it is still rarely registered in crime statistics due to a presumably high number of unreported cases (Gröning & Yardley, 2020) and thus tends to go unnoticed both scientifically and socially. Existing studies indicate that violence in old(er) age is more frequently found in life-stage-specific spatial (e.g., in rooms of elderly care) and object constellations (e.g., in the context of fixations) (Hörtl, 2009). However, although material aspects obviously play a central role in this context, they have so far been conceptualized merely as containers (space) or instruments (things) in which or through which violence is performed by people (as primary agents of violence).

The research project takes this narrow understanding of materiality in previous research on violence as a starting point and aims to exceed it. Therefore, we introduce an understanding of violence in later life as a socio-material practice that consequently refers to material aspects (such as everyday objects, technologies, spaces). The aim of the project is to expand existing conceptual perspectives on violence in later life by developing a material gerontology framework that makes clear that not only humans but also material actors shape, maintain or dissolve violence and aggressive behavior towards older adults.

First, we conduct a systematic literature review to outline the state of research on violence in later life and material actors and spaces of the last ten years in the German, American and Israeli context. In a second step, selected case studies from the reviewed literature are analysed using qualitative sequence analysis (Froschauer & Lueger, 2020).

The results of the literature review and sequence analysis show that research on violence in later life has so far been dominated by stress-theoretical or therapeutic approaches that understand violence as a social phenomenon and that conceptually overlook material aspects. This leads to a narrowing of the concept of violence in later life to a relationship action, whereby these relationships are mostly characterized by overwhelming demands on caregivers. Material, non-human actors, on the other hand, are attributed the role of silent observers or neutral instruments of violence. Last, but not least, the results show an age-coded narrowing of research on violence in older age, through which certain spaces are more frequently addressed (e.g. violence in the context of care), while others (e.g. violence in digital spaces) are less in the focus of research. The findings indicate that mapping violence through the lens of material gerontology helps to further develop the conceptual understanding of materiality in violence research in order to show that everyday objects, technologies, and spaces play a vital role in the emergence and prevention of aggressive behavior and violence in later life. These findings also allow practical implications for professionals working with those older adults affected by violence.

Linking Ages - The Material-Discursive Practices of Un/Doing Age across the Life Course

Principal Investigator: Anna Wanka (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Duration: 2022 – 2028

Photomontage showing different age stages of life
Age is one of the key markers that greatly influence how a person is treated in our societies. From a sociological perspective of un/doing age, age boundaries can be understood as practical accomplishments – not something people are or do, but something that is being done through material-discursive boundary-making practices. State-of-the-art research has studied the (material) bodies, spaces and things as well as the associated (discursive) representations - or dispositifs – that un/do age(ing), but faces two crucial limitations: first, it lacks comprehensive theorizing of the fact that age, unlike gender, is a continuous, processual and dynamic marker of social difference; and second, the absence of dialogue between childhood, youth, adulthood and age studies causes a struggle to create knowledge that exceeds age boundaries and risks reifying age categories instead of deconstructing them. To close these research gaps, the projects aims to develop such an urgently needed meta-perspective towards age as a category of social difference manifested in a framework of ‘Linking Ages’ to bring theories, methodologies and findings from childhood, youth, adulthood and age studies into a dialogue. As a reflexive poststructuralist approach such a practice-theoretical framework does not aim to compare what life stages are, but how they come into being – and the role research itself plays in that process -, asking: How is age being un/done in different life stages? Which material-discursive practices draw age boundaries across the life course?

The ‘Linking Ages’ framework will be inductively established from seven empirical research projects (one postdoctoral, four PhD projects, two MA projects). All involved projects ask how, not why, age is constituted, and in doing so focus on selected materiel elements of practices – bodies, things or spaces – as well as the associated discursive elements and their materialisations in regulations and representations. In doing so projects focus on at least two life stages, starting with childhood and later life in the first cohort and include adulthood into the analyses of the second cohort. All projects deploy practice-theoretical multi-method research designs that account for both material and discursive elements and thus combine ‘material’ methods (e.g. ethnography, artifact analysis) with textual methods (e.g. interviews, documents). Located at a meta-level, the group leader’s project analyzes the role that research itself plays in the un/doings of age through explicit and implicit knowledge practices. It brings together findings from all sub-projects, maps them using situational analysis, and, on this basis, constitutes the practice-theoretical ‘Linking Ages’ framework.

CIVEX (Exclusion from civic engagement of a diverse older population: Features, experiences and policy implications)

Civex project logo
Primary Investigator: Dr. Rodrigo Serrat (University of Barcelona https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rodrigo-Serrat
Funding: JPI: More Years, Better Lives

CIVEX is a comprehensive and interdisciplinary research project funded under the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) “More Years, Better Lives”. CIVEX aims to investigate features of exclusion from multidimensional civic engagement in later life and older adults’ experiences of such exclusion, and to identify evidence-based policy responses to address exclusion from civic activities. CIVEX includes research teams from five European countries selected to represent Continental (Belgium), Southern (Spain), Nordic (Finland and Sweden) and Anglo-Saxon (UK) welfare state regimes and cultural contexts. The national teams are supported by the following grants: Belgium (BELSPO, B2/21E/P3/CIVEX), Finland (Academy of Finland, 345022), Spain (Spanish State Research Agency, PCI2021-121951), Sweden (Forte, 2020-01535) and UK (Economic and Social Research Council, ES/W001438/1).

For more information on CIVEX follow this link: https://civex.eu/

Documentation within eldercare: a study of need assessors’ case files and reasoning

Primary Investigator: Prof. Sandra Torres (Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Sweden).
Collaborators: Dr. Anna Olaison (CESAR), Uppsala University) & Dr. Maricel Knechtel (Department of Sociology, Uppsala University & Region Uppsala).
Funding: Faculty of Social Sciences, Uppsala University (via the professorial funds connected to the chair in social gerontology at this university).
Duration: 2021- 2022

This project focuses on the role that documentation plays in the need assessment process that older people in need of help and support undergo when trying to access eldercare services. The reason why this is the focus of this two-study project is that there are surprisingly few studies – both in Sweden and internationally - that specifically focus on this. The project aims therefore to shed light on how care managers within eldercare reason about documentation practices in general, and especially in light of the increasing demands for standardization that are placed on welfare representatives. In addition, the project aims to analyze case files so that we also can shed light on what (and how) care managers within eldercare actually document. Thus, by bringing attention to care managers’ own reasoning about, among others, the role that standardization plays on documentation, as well as their actual documentation practices, this project aims to contribute to the national debate on these matters in general and eldercare in particular. The project is comprised of two sub-studies; a focus group interview based study (Study 1/ n= 90-100 care managers), and a case file study (Study 2/ n= 1,200 - 1,300 case files). By combining data collection efforts that tap into how care managers’ reason and what and how they actually document, this project will contribute not only with much needed empirical results about documentation practices within eldercare, but also with theoretically-sound contributions to ongoing debates within social work and social care about institutional categorization, clientization, professional discretion, and clients’ deservingness. Data collection is on its way. In due course, results will be published on this webpage:

https://www.soc.uu.se/research/research-groups/Welfare/health-and-social-care/dokumentationspraktik-inom-aldreomsorgen/

The Social Production of Space and Age – A French-German Dialogue towards New Theoretical Approaches and Research Pathways (SPAGE)


Principal Investigators: Thibauld Moulaert (Université Grenoble Alpes,
Laboratoire PACTE) & Anna Wanka (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Funding: Agence Nationale de La Recherche (ANR) & German Research Foundation (DFG)
Duration: 2022 – 2025

Theories, concepts and empirical data can travel between different linguistic and societal spheres. How theories of space enrich ageing and how, in turn, the analyses of the space of ageing can contribute to the questions of general sociology, has been approached from different angles in France and in Germany in the past. The SPAGE project proposes
  1. A systematic theoretical comparison of the interplay between age, space, and social exclusion in France and Germany, resulting in a comprehensive theoretical framework.
  2. We will then empirically test the framework for potential societal differences and similarities between the two countries, aiming to use their synergy effect ...
  3. To create a sustainable research network based on new theoretical approaches and epistemological pathways between Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (through the impulse of the Research Group ‘Doing Transitions’ and the Working Group ‘Interdisciplinary Ageing Research’) and the Université de Grenoble Alpes (through the laboratory of social sciences PACTE where thematic of ageing in public space is developing through ongoing/emerging ANR JCJC projects).
Related to the three objectives, the project plan is divided into three work packages. In the first work package, we start a French-German conceptual dialogue aimed at facilitating the exchange of theories, concepts and epistemological pathways used in French and German research on age,space, and social exclusion. On that basis, and facilitated through four “Conceptual workshops” in both countries, we formulate a joint framework. In the second work package, a systematic empirical comparison of the interplay between age, space,and social exclusion in France and Germany leads to a specification of the framework. This second objective is twofold: as a first step, we will compare ongoing research carried out in the respective research groups/countries in both countries (“Data analysis workshops”). Exploiting the potential similarities/differences between the countries, comparative workshops are organized with German and French older participants in the partner’s country to explore how similarities/differences observed in German and French research are experienced (or
not) by older adults themselves (“Bridging workshops”). Third, SPAGE wants to challenge the dominant representations of age, such as “age-friendliness”, “active ageing” or “healthy ageing”. By creating a research network on age, space and exclusion through the link between the original research team of both principal investigators, SPAGE would bring forward the multiplicity of age-diversity and age practices (handicapped elderly people/fragile age/age and gender/age and lifespan/ migratory experiences) in the production of space.

Aging in Data


Principal Investigators: Kim Sawchuck (Concordia University Montreal)
Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada
Partnership Grant
Duration: 2022 – 2029

Aging in Data (AiD) is a 7-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada partnership grant that brings together interdisciplinary scholars and community-based activists and organizations in age studies, communications/media studies, and critical data studies. Headed by Dr. Kim Sawchuk, (Concordia University Research Chair in Mobile Media Studies) at Concordia University (Montreal), the primary research goal is to investigate aging in an era of unprecedented digital transformation in a datafied world. The research foci are organized into group clusters that include questions of:
  • a) aging, statistics and public policies;
  • b) data ethics, data powers and data justice;
  • c) datafied care and systems of age sensor-ing, monitoring and surveillance;
  • d) digital technology practices, impositions and appropriations;
  • e) innovative responses to datatification and new forms of data agency, and
  • f) intersectional aging and community-driven data.
The AiD partnership consists of 19 partner organizations and 34 co-investigators and collaborators from ten countries in Europe, North America and Australia. Together this team will pursue multi-methodological research from different vantage points, both traditional and non-traditional, to build a legacy of shared projects including alternative data-sets, all aimed at capturing the lived datafied realities and materialities of older adults. A vital dimension of the AiD research plan is student training at all levels that emphasizes the importance of age to emerging student work, while providing the intellectually and politically challenging tools to engage with digital and community-driven research. The partnership understands the COVID-19 pandemic as magnifying pre-existing age-related social, health and political data inequities and thus it is a critical opportunity to pursue AiD research questions.

Announcements of conferences, workshops and events (as sent to us by members)

ENAS (European Network in Aging Studies) & NANAS (North American Network in Aging Studies) joint conference, Sept 28 - Oct 1, 2022 , Bucharest, Romania and online)

Bucharest Aging 2022: Narratives and Counter Narratives of Aging and Old Age: Reflexivity in Aging Studies

Organizational Committee: Loredana Ivan, Dragoș Farmazon, Dumitrița Hîrtie

Academic Committee: Kate de Medeiros, Loredana Ivan, Ulla Kriebernegg, Raquel Medina, Maricel Oró Piqueras, Aagje Swinnen, Eva-Maria Trinkaus.
Bucharest Aging 2022
‘Narrative’ is a travelling concept (Mieke Bal, 2002) that is also used by scholars collaborating in the field of Aging Studies. A ‘cultural force to be reckoned with’ (Bal, 2010:10), it is alive and active in the humanities and arts as well as in the social sciences. As Aging Studies scholars rooted in different disciplines, we examine the experience of aging through stories of others, real or imagined, stories that link us to our own aging. Such narratives include life stories and other first-person accounts as well as all sorts of cultural representations including literature, film, photography and other modes of representation that also narrate – such as numbers and figures in surveys, algorithms, and big data. Bringing together the multiplicity of understandings of what master narratives and counter-narratives of age and aging mean to us, this conference aims at looking at the different interpretations in order to discuss what narrative as a transdisciplinary mode can actually do. This conference will ask scholars to contribute with their understanding and analysis of ‘narrative’ to facilitate discussion on theoretical and methodological approaches. Together, we aim at challenging some of the prevalent perspectives on aging and old age such as the continuation of seeing aging as a social problem, or the old master narrative of frailty and dependency. What is the power of narrative in encouraging new perspectives focusing on older people’s diversity, their value to, and their role in society? As aging is the future for all of us, the conference will provide a ground for more appreciative perspectives on aging and later life created through the reflection on and challenge of existing structures.

The papers in this conference address:
  • "truth" in narratives about aging (whose truths matter, what constitutes a "truthful" telling; power dynamics in narratives; and narratives from underrepresented groups)
  • narratives around age and longevity;
  • narratives about care;
  • narratives about old age during the COVID-19 pandemic/during lockdown;
  • reflections on cultural narratives, processes and strategies;
  • ageist portrayals of older people in cultural and media texts, as well as in advertising and technology;
  • intergenerational narratives of solidarity and conflict (climate change, care, welfare systems, etc.);
  • narratives bridging social practices;
  • identities and representations across different ages;
  • aging in data: older adults in a datafied society (the absence of older people from some data and ageist data bias)
  • narratives of algorithms;
  • narratives about younger and older people;
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Announcements of research reports (as sent to us by members)

Edwards Lifesciences' Unifying Generations Report Seeks to Transform Perceptions of the "Pivotal" 3rd Generation

Edwards Lifesciences published 'Unifying Generations: Building the Pathway to Intergenerational Solidarity', a report, based on a survey of 12,850 Europeans across generations, that demonstrates the need to change perceptions of the value of people aged over-65 and their cohesion with younger generations.

To provide insights on the role of the senior population in society and the benefits of intergenerational interactions, Edwards Lifesciences joined forces with experts to conduct a survey examining the perceptions and experience of intergenerational solidarity of 12,850 citizens across 6 European countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the UK). The results formed the basis of the newly available Unifying Generations report.

In contrast to existing perceptions, the survey results highlighted the significant social contributions of the 3rd generation. They contribute to their families and communities, through volunteering (19%) and providing care to others (24%). Seventy-one percent (71%) of over-65s also provide significant financial support to younger people. Younger generation respondents stated how important they felt the support the older generation provided was in their day-to-day lives, with 83% stating it was very important or somewhat important.

Results showed that the pandemic seems to have had a negative impact on intergenerational interaction, with 40% of respondents saying they spend less time with different generations since the pandemic. However, one of the most positive themes that emerged from the report was the willingness to improve intergenerational interactions. Respondents were 11 times more likely to think closer relations between different generations are a good thing (77%) vs. a bad thing (7%). In fact, 92% of survey respondents confirmed they were open to having a friend from a different generation.

"The study suggests that extremely positive and varied intergenerational interactions are present in society and also valued by all age groups. It's important that policies and strategies are developed that help maintain and strengthen these relations going forward," said Prof George W Leeson, Professorial Fellow, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford.

A number of different benefits of improving intergenerational interactions were also highlighted. The most important benefits identified were companionship or friendship (20%) and mental and emotional wellbeing (19%). Additionally, 23% of younger respondents believe that mentoring or educational schemes provided by national or local government would help them to do more with older generations.

The report recommends three actions that can be considered as a result of the survey findings. They are: a campaign to transform perceptions of the value of senior people and their interactions with younger generations, greater opportunities for mentoring and knowledge sharing from older to younger generations; and schemes that help senior people interact more digitally.

To learn more and download the full report please visit https://www.edwards.com/ch-en/aboutus/unifying-generations/.

Awards won by RC11 members

Vera Gallistl was awarded the so:wi Doc ECR PhD prize from the Department of Sociology, University of Vienna. Each year, the Faculty of Social Sciences awards the sowi:doc Awards to three doctoral graduates. The award winners are honored for their outstanding research contributions in the framework of their doctoral thesis. As a sociologist working at the centre for Gerontology at Karl Landsteiner University in Krems, Austria. In her work, she studies digital cultures of later life, focusing on the relational terrain between ageing and technology. In her current research project, she explores the potentials, challenges and bias of artificial intelligence in elder care. She is co-editor of the special issue “Socio-Gerontechnology – The Digital Transformation of Later Life” (Frontiers in Sociology, 2022) as well as the edited volume “Kulturgerontologie” (Cultural Gerontology, Springer, 2022).

Barbara Neves was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK) for her research on ageing, technology, and loneliness (2022) and her article "The Role of Staff in Facilitating Immersive Virtual Reality for Enrichment in Aged Care: An Ethic of Care Perspective" awarded an Honorable Mention at CHI 2022, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): https://programs.sigchi.org/chi/2022/program/content/68814

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

Books in English

Care Across Distance book cover
Hromadžić, A. & Palmberger, M. (eds.) (2022). Care across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration. New York / Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-78533-800-7

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.
Elder Abuse and Neglect book cover
Joshi, A. K. (2021). Elder Abuse and Neglect. New Delhi: Gyan Publishing House

Elder abuse and neglect is a hidden crime in the family. Elder abuse or abuse of senior citizen by the immediate family members (caregiver) is not a new phenomenon. Since it is a relatively recently recognised phenomenon, in-depth sociological studies are a few in India. The consequences of abuse are varied. Because of abuse, the quality of life of a senior citizen deteriorate. It is a grave violation of the human rights of senior citizens too.
By primary data, the author has tried to find out the prevalent types of elder abuse, trends of elder abuse and identified the factors responsible for it and also the chief abuser. Furthermore, the author also suggested measures to prevent elder abuse in the family. Through several case studies, the author described several issues related to abuse and neglect. The author offered several vital suggestions for the dignified existence of the senior citizens. This book will be informative, the valuable source material for sociologists, social workers, legal experts and policy planners to understand the issue, its forms, causes and extent.
Critical Gerontology for Social Workers book cover
Torres, S. & Donnelly, S. (eds.) (2022) Critical Gerontology for Social Workers. Bristol: Bristol University Press, University of Bristol. ISBN 9781447360445.

This original collection explores how critical gerontology can make sense of old age inequalities to inform social work research, policy and practice. Engaging with key debates on age-related human rights, the conceptual focus addresses the current challenges and opportunities facing those who work with older people.
To see a video introducing the book, its rationale and structure, follow this link. To get the ISA RC-11 discount of 20% use the discount code POTORRES
Life-Course Implications of US Public Policies book cover
Wilmoth J. & London, A.S. (Eds.). 2021. Life-Course Implications of U.S. Public Policies. New York: Routledge.

The volume aims to foster an appreciation of how policy influences connect and condition the life course. Chapters examine issues relating to health, housing, food security, crime, employment, and care work, amongst other issues, and demonstrate how the principles of the life-course perspective and cumulative inequality theory can be used to inform contemporary public policy debates.
Life-Course Implications of US Public Policies will be a great resource for students of gerontology, sociology, demography, social work, public health and public policy, as well as policy makers, researchers in think tanks, and advocates, who are concerned with age-based policy.

Book chapters in English


Hamilton, M., Timonen, V., Craig, L. & Adamson, E. (2022). Policies for Active Ageing and their Family- Related Assumptions and Consequences, in Daly, M., Gilbert, N., Pfau-Effinger B. & Besharov D. (eds.) International Handbook of Family Policy: A Life-Course Perspective. Oxford: University Press. http://hdl.handle.net/2262/96057

Active ageing has become the dominant paradigm governing the direction of public policies concerning older people in the Western world. There are many definitions of active ageing, but the central features of its approach encourage greater economic and social participation of older adults. In this chapter, we identify contradictions within the paradigm, and a failure to adequately situate it within the family lives – and life courses – of older people. We draw attention to the overemphasis in the active ageing paradigm on independent agentic older people who are expected to extend their participation in communities and economies, without adequately considering the relational circumstances and obligations that shape older people’s opportunities to participate more broadly. We posit that the active ageing paradigm fails to account for the importance and unequal distribution of contributions to family as forms of social and economic participation and productivity. These are inequalities that are heavily gendered. Consequently, there is a failure in the active ageing paradigm to recognize adequately the intersections – and contradictions – between active ageing policies and family policies, and between active ageing policies and national work/care regimes. Drawing on an examination of grandparent involvement in childcare in Sweden and Australia, we highlight these contradictions and demonstrate the lack of alignment in aspirations pertaining to ageing policy and family policy, and their gendered implications in different welfare states.

McDaniel, S. A. (2021). Choices and Non-Choices: Waltzing with the Micro/Macro in Sociology. in Harold, S. & McLaughlin, N. (eds.) Canadian Sociologists in the First Person. Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press. pp. 99-122.

Social scientists' autobiographies can yield insight into personal commitments to research agendas and the very project of social science itself. But despite the long history of life writing, sociologists have tended to view the practice with skepticism. Canadian Sociologists in the First Person is the first book to survey the Canadian sociological imagination through personal recollections. Exploring the lives and experiences of twenty contributors from across the country, this book connects the unique and shared features of their careers to broad social dynamics while providing a guide to their own research and administrative contributions to their universities, their profession, and their broader society and communities. The contributors teach in different types of institutions, are prominent in the discipline and in their specializations, and represent significant and diverse intellectual currents, political perspectives, and life and career experiences. This book chapter is part of this endeavor.

Nguyen H., McDaniel, S. A., & Neves, B. (Eds). 2022. The Family in Modern and Global Societies: Persistence and Change (Lens from Vietnam), Proceedings of RC06- VSA International Conference. Hanoi: University of Hanoi Press.

Families have been changing fast recently in response to fast changing economic, demographic, technological, cultural, and policy conditions. Changes can be observed in all aspects of family life, and in all societies of the globalized world. A few examples of the changes in family life include: adolescents spend more time on education and activities outside the family and spend less time with parents; age at puberty and age at first sexual experience tend to decrease while age at first marriage increases; premarital sex is becoming acceptable; new forms of union, such as cohabitation, same-sex marriages and single-parent families are increasingly acceptable; separations/divorces and remarriages are increasing; low fertility and childlessness are more common; more children now live in single-parent and remarried families; gender roles in the family are changing, etc. In Asia and especially in Viet Nam, dynamic economic development accompanied by intense internal and international migration and a rapid process of globalization have made these changes fast and dramatic. In addition, the cyber world of the 4th industrial revolution is is superimposed on the physical world; together they are making the family life of each individual more complex and difficult to anticipate. In the context of the family changes that are occurring in all corners of the world, the Vietnam Sociological Association (VSA) in collaboration with national partners and the Research Committee of Family (RC06) of ISA have organized an international conference on family issues in the contemporary context.

Articles in English


Barbosa Neves, B., Waycott, J. & Maddox, A. (Online First). When Technologies are Not Enough: The Challenges of Digital Interventions to Address Loneliness in Later Life. Sociological Research Online, 13607804211029298. https://doi.org/10.1177/13607804211029298

This article discusses sociotechnical challenges of technology-based interventions to address loneliness in later life. We bring together participatory and multidisciplinary research conducted in Canada and Australia to explore the limits of digital technologies to help tackle loneliness among frail older people (aged 65+). Drawing on three case studies, we focus on instances when technology-based interventions, such as communication apps, were limiting or failed, seeming to enhance rather than lessen loneliness. We also unpack instances where the technologies being considered did not match participants’ social needs and expectations, preventing adoption, use, and the intended outcomes. To better grasp the negative unintended consequences of these technological interventions, we combine a relational sociological approach to loneliness with the Strong Structuration Theory developed by sociologist Rob Stones. This combined lens highlights the connection between sociotechnical factors and their agentic and structural contexts, facilitating a rich understanding of why and when technologies fail and limit.

Bischoff, L., Franke A., & Wanka, A. (2021). Resonant Retiring? Experiences of Resonance in the Transition to Retirement. Frontiers in Sociology 6. https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fsoc.2021.723359

In the process of life course transitions, relations between the self and the world transform, which can according to Hartmut Rosa be framed as resonance. This article focuses on the retirement transition and thus on the exit from gainful employment as one of the central spheres of our world relationship in late modernity. It raises the following questions: How do experiences of resonance change in the course of the retirement transition? Does the loss of gainful employment lead to disruptions or even the absence of resonance in terms of alienation? And which role do dimensions of social inequality, such as gender, income, education or mental health status play for resonance transformations in the transition to retirement? In terms of a reflexive mixed-methods design, this article combines quantitative panel data from the German Ageing Survey (2008–17) with a qualitative longitudinal study from the project “Doing Retiring” (2017–21). Our results show that the transition from work to retirement entails a specific “resonance choreography” that comprises a phase of disaffection (lack of resonance) at the end of one’s working life followed by a liminal phase in which people search for intensified experiences of resonance. We outline practices in which transitioning subjects seek out resonance, and the experiences they make within this process according to their social positions. We thereby find that the desire for resonance tends to be beyond intentional resonance management which manifests in products and services like coaching or wellness. In our conclusions, we discuss how resonance theory and retirement research/life course research can be fruitfully combined, but also highlight the methodological challenges the operationalization of resonance entails.

Chen Y, Wang Z, Zhang Q, Dong W et al. (2022). “Compassion, Discrimination, and Prosocial Behaviors: Young Diasporic Chinese during the COVID-19 pandemic”. Frontiers in Psychology 13:814869. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.814869

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has fueled anti-Asian, especially anti-Chinese sentiments worldwide, which may negatively impact diasporic Chinese youths’ adjustment and prosocial development. This study examined the association between compassion, discrimination and prosocial behaviors in diasporic Chinese youths during the COVID-19 pandemic. 360 participants participated and completed the multi-country, cross-sectional, web-based survey between April 22 and May 9, 2020, the escalating stage of the pandemic. This study found compassion as prosocial behaviors’ proximal predictor, while discrimination independently predicted participation in volunteering, and could potentially enhance the association between compassion and charitable giving. These findings suggest that prosociality among young people is sensitive to social context, and that racial discrimination should be considered in future prosocial studies involving young members of ethnic and racial minorities.

Dong, W. (2022). Adult Day Programs in the New Reality of High Prevalence of Dementia. European Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, Volume-4, Issue-1. pp27-34. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejmed.2022.4.1.1206

Adult Day Programs (ADPs) have been playing an important role providing services to community dwelling elders and their families in health-related prevention, intervention, and family caregiver support. At the time when there is a high prevalence of dementia among older elders, demand for such services will grow. Learn the experiences of ADPs can help identifying service gaps, which are crucial for developing measures to improve such programs’ effectiveness. This is a case study on the ADPs at the Toronto Geriatric Centre with qualitative research strategy. Interviews and focus group discussions were the data collection methods employed to gather feedbacks from its staff members, clients, and family caregivers. The ADPs at the TGC are helpful to their clients and their families, but have issues in language accessibility, physical accessibility (programs’ schedule and transportation), financial accessibility (affordability), and care accessibility-there is a lack of professional caregivers for those participants who need onsite care. The high prevalence of dementia among ADPs’ clients and the resource shortage are the main difficulties facing the TGC. If it was to achieve its intended goal, more resources are needed for their improvements in accessibility, which would involve a user-friendly operation schedule, free or minor-cost transportation, and sufficient program staffing that include professional caregivers. Covid-19 pandemic poses challenges to the entire eldercare sector. ADPs’ post-pandemic arrangements should address emerging needs of the elders they serve. Community elders, especially those persons with dementia, and their families need ADPs for aging at home.

Dong, W. (2022). Informal Caregiving and Its Hidden Cost to National Economy: With a Toronto Case Study. EJ-MED, Volume-4, Issue-1. pp 15-23. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejmed.2022.4.1.1186

More than eight million Canadians are providing care for their aging family members, relatives, neighbours, or friends. Due to staff shortage, eldercare facilities are also relying on their residents’ families to fill the gap of the care needs. Caregiving responsibilities have forced many employees to take time-off from work or take early retirement, which is a heavy loss of productivity of Canada’s national economy. This study employed a mixed method strategy, and with both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods: interview, focus group discussion, and a questionnaire survey. It shows that Canadians must take time off from work or to leave jobs for providing care to their loved ones, even when they are residing in a long-term care setting. This seemingly private matter is a very public one in the other side of the coin: family caregivers’ lost time in employment is affecting Canada’s national economy significantly. Government should work with stakeholders to develop a national strategy to tackle the issue. COVID-19 outbreak has revealed long-term care institutions’ struggle with severe staff shortage in Canada.

Gallistl, V., Rohner, R., Hengl, L., & Kolland, F. (2021). Doing digital exclusion–technology practices of older internet non-users. Journal of Aging Studies, 59, 100973. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2021.100973

Gerontological literature has widely explored barriers to technology use in later life, often drawing upon binary conceptualizations of “using” and “not using” a certain technological device. However, such concepts have been increasingly up for debate. Using a praxeological approach, this study aims to explore technology use and non-use in later life not as dichotomous counterparts, but as routine experiences that take place in the everyday lives of older adults, asking: Which technology practices that go beyond using and not using a certain device can be found in the everyday lives of older non-users? How are these practices related to experiences of age and aging?

The paper draws upon data from 15 semi-structured interviews with older adults (65+) in Austria, who self-identify as ‘non-users’ of digital technologies. Data was analyzed using thematic coding (Flick, 2016) and revealed that while interviewees saw themselves as “non-users” of digital technologies, they all regularly engaged with digital technologies in their daily lives. These manifold everyday engagements with digital technologies can be summarized as four bundles of technology practices: (1) avoidance practices, (2) usage practices, (3) appropriation practices, and (4) subjectivation practices. Non-users regularly engaged in and transitioned between these practice bundles. Not using digital technologies therefore emerged as an ambivalent, everyday experience, rather than an actual practice pattern that can be measured using binary categories of ‘use’ and ‘non-use’.

By understanding the use and non-use of digital technologies in later life not as binary counterparts, but as an active process of doing, this paper highlights how the use and non-use of digital technologies is not a rational decision, but rather an ensemble of avoidance, usage, and appropriation practices that older adults experience and negotiate in their everyday lives. This paper therefore suggests moving away from technology use and non-use as central concepts for studying technology in later life, and instead questioning which practices are valued as a ‘right’ or ‘real’ way of using digital technologies, and which are devalued as ‘wrong’ usage.

Gallistl, V., Wanka, A. (2022). The internet multiple: How internet practices are valued in later life. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 15 (2: https://doi.org/10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.3563

Internet practices of older adults are multifaceted and go beyond a “use” and “non-use” binary. In this article, we suggest a valuation approach towards Internet practices in later life that explores Internet practices not as “use” or “non-use,” but rather asks which forms of Internet practices are valued in later life, and which ones are de-valued. For this valuog­raphy, we draw upon different data sources, including interviews with older adults, to explore the multiple “goods” and “bads” through which Internet use in later life gets valued. The findings suggest two registers of value: autonomy and innovation. Valued Internet practices in later life are therefore done by an autonomous, older individual and include innovative technologies. We conclude that a performative, reflexive, and value-oriented understanding of Internet practices sheds light on the “Internet Multiple,” or the many different shapes the Internet takes in older people’s lives that go beyond a “use” and “non-use” binary.

Hamilton, M., Crawford, T., Thomson, C., Jeon, Y., Bassatt, K. (2022). New directions in centre-based aged care in Australia: Responding to changing funding models and the COVID-19 pandemic. Australasian Journal on Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajag.13081

Centre-based aged care services are a key site of early intervention and support for people with dementia and their carers. This paper examines the impact of new aged care funding structures on centre-based aged care service accessibility and delivery. It also examines the challenges and opportunities for change facing the sector in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Semi-structured interviews were conducted online with 29 managers or supervisors of centre-based aged care services in Greater Sydney. The analysis reinforced the essential role of centre-based aged care services in improving the cognitive, physical and psychological health of older people with dementia and their carers. However, the changing funding context and the COVID-19 pandemic have created challenges in access to centre-based services, particularly for the most vulnerable. The challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic also opened opportunities for the introduction of new models of service practice to meet the individual needs of older people and their carers. Greater investment in, and flexibility in the funding for, centre-based aged care services is needed to facilitate access for people with dementia and their carers and improve their health and well-being.

Hamilton M., Hill E. & Kintominas A. (2021). Moral geographies of care across borders: The experience of migrant grandparents in Australia. Social Politics. Early view. https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxab024

Literature on transnational grandparenting rarely focuses on how migrant grandparents contribute to the work/care reconciliation of their adult children, how they provide and receive care in contexts of mobility and precariousness, and the ways in which this is shaped by migration and social policy regimes. Drawing on the concept of moral geographies of care, this study reveals how idealized norms of care interact with Australian migration and work/care regimes in complex and contradictory ways to produce configurations of care in migrant families. We conclude that migration and work/care regimes are poorly aligned, compromising migrant families’ well-being and economic security.

Hamilton, M; Peisah, C; Rabheru, K; Ayalon, L; Stoppe, G; de Mendonça Lima, C (2021). Understanding barriers to the realization of human rights among older women with mental health conditions. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(10), pp 1009-1014. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2021.05.024

There is increasing emphasis in research and at the level of international human rights bodies such as the United Nations on the gendered contours of age-based disadvantage and discrimination, and the cumulative effects of gender inequalities over the life-course on outcomes in later life. However, to date, the role of mental health in shaping the age/gender nexus in the realization of human rights has received little attention. In response, this paper aims to 1) elucidate the economic, social and cultural disadvantages and discrimination faced by older women living with mental health conditions; and 2) identify opportunities to protect their human rights. It concludes that older women face inequalities and disadvantages at the intersections of age, gender, and mental health and wellbeing that compromise their capacity to age well, illuminating the urgent need for a UN Convention on the Human Rights of Older Persons that considers the role of mental health in shaping the realization of human rights among older people.

Hamilton M., Adamson E. & Kintominas A. (2021). Childcare by migrant grannies and migrant nannies: A critical discourse analysis of new policy solutions for securing reproductive labor in Australian households, Gender, Work and Organisation. Early view. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12749

Migrant nannies (au pairs) and migrant grannies (migrant grandparents) have emerged in Australian policy and public discourses as new “solutions” to the “problems” of unmet needs for reproductive labor in households and the under-utilization of working-aged Australian women in the workforce. Despite their similarities – both are pitched as sources of extended or fictive kin for the provision of childcare – these two classes of migrants are rarely thought about together. Using a critical discourse analysis of policy and media documents between 2013 and 2019, this article examines how debates concerning migrant nannies and migrant grannies are framed and explores the implications for the distribution of reproductive labor. Findings reveal new directions in the distribution of reproductive labor to fictive and extended migrant kin and highlight the importance of an intersectional approach to understanding the complex interactions not only between gender, class, migration status, and ethnicity but also age in new articulations of Australia's work-care regime.

Hellström, I. & Torres, S. (2021). Couplehood as a compass: spousal perspectives on the diminished everyday competence of partners. Dementia, 20(7): 2380-2392, Couplehood as a compass: Spousal perspectives on the diminished everyday competence of partners (sagepub.com)

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.

Höppner, G.; Wanka, A. & Endter, C. (2022). Linking Ages – un/doing age and family in the Covid-19 Pandemic. Journal of Family Research, Special Issue Family Lives during the COVID-19 Pandemic in European Societies, Early View, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.20377/jfr-727

In this paper we ask how and through which social practices age and family are relationally being un/done in the course of the pandemic in Germany, and how these un/doings shape, shift or even break intergenerational relations. The spread of the coronavirus and the attempts of governments to slow it down are severely affecting livelihoods worldwide. The institutionalised ageism underlying these government measures affects the youngest and oldest in society in particular (Ayalon et al. 2020; van Dyk et al. 2020). Intergenerational relations of social reproduction enacted, inter alia, through practices of eldercare, grandparenting, or voluntary work, are significantly limited in the current pandemic, as older adults are framed as an 'at-risk group', children as 'silent transmitters', and young adults as a 'risky group' (Ayalon et al. 2020; Stokes & Patterson 2020). These constructions contribute to the constitution, stabilisation and 'doing' of age in the pandemic.

We present findings from longitudinal research that was conducted through qualitative, problem-centred interviews between March 2020 and February 2021 with persons of different ages living in different household and care constellations in Germany. We find that whereas in non-pandemic times doing age can be constitutive for doing family – as a constellation traditionally perceived to comprise multiple generations – we see the opposite happening in the pandemic: as age-based government measures to contain the spread of the virus limit intergenerational relations, older adults face the risk of being excluded from families. Hence, doing age can lead to a redoing or even an undoing of family. In conclusion, the paper outlines the potential of a 'linking ages' approach for the study of family lives and of intergenerational relations in times of crises.

Knopf, L., Wazinski, K., Wanka, A. & Hess, M. (2022). Caregiving students: a systematic literature review of an under-researched group, Journal of Further and Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2021.2008332

Against the backdrop of demographic ageing, university students increasingly face the need to reconcile studying and caring for an older person. Surprisingly little is known about the lives of caregiving students or the ways institutions of higher education can (or do) support them, however. Knowing more about this group is of importance from an academic and practical perspective. This study provides the first systematic literature review on caregiving students. It aims to i) systematise the knowledge on caregiving students, and ii) identify research gaps in the literature and formulate fields of future inquiry. The primary literature search resulted in 2,205 hits, of which only six publications met the inclusion criteria. These were coded and analysed according to the standards of inductive content analysis. Four core themes were identified: (1) determinants of being/becoming a caregiving student, (2) challenges in reconciling caregiving and studying, (3) positive and negative consequences of being a caregiving student, (4) potential support structures for caregiving students. Each of these themes also discusses issues regarding four spheres: (a) the personal sphere, (b) the sphere of the caregiving relationship, (c) the social sphere, and (d) the institutional or higher education sphere. Based on the results, we identify three blind spots of current research for future inquiry: (i) the particular challenges faced by students that care for an older person compared to students involved in childcare, (ii) a bias towards ‘methodological institutionalism’, and, as a consequence, (iii) a negligence of the care relationship itself and the perspectives of the care-recipients.

Ko, P. C., & Sung, P. (2022). The Negative Impact of Adult Children’s Marital Dissolution on Older Parents’ Mental Health in South Korea. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbac056

Little is known about whether and the extent children’s marital dissolution deteriorates older parents’ mental health. This study examines the association of children’s marital dissolution with parents’ mental health, and whether children’s gender and intergenerational contact and support moderate such an association in South Korea, where family lives are strongly linked under the Confucian collectivistic legacy. We apply fixed-effects models on 15,584 parent–child dyads nested in 5,673 older parents (45–97 years in Wave 1) participating in the four waves of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA), conducted from 2006 to 2012. In South Korea, a son’s transition to marital dissolution is associated with higher levels of parents’ depressive symptoms. Frequent parent–son contacts of at least once a week, living with a son, and increasing financial transfers from parents to a son tend to reduce the negative association of the son’s marital dissolution with parents’ depressive symptoms. The findings imply that a son’s transition to marital dissolution, as a later-life stressor, is detrimental to parents’ mental health in a patrilineal Asian cultural context. The study also highlights the importance of intergenerational bonding in mitigating the negative impact of children’s marital dissolution upwardly transmitted to their older parents.

London, A., & Landes, S. D. (2022). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the Age Pattern of Adult Mortality. Biodemography and Social Biology, 67(1). pp 28-39. https://doi.org /10.1080/19485565.2021.2020618.

We draw upon the life-course perspective and examine whether Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) moderates the age pattern of adult mortality using data from the 2007 and 2012 National Health Interview Survey Sample Adult File linked to National Death Index data through 2015. Overall, 7.0% of respondents died by 2015. Discrete-time hazard analysis indicates that the log odds of mortality were significantly lower among 18 and 19 year old adults ever diagnosed with ADHD and significantly higher among 46 to 64 year old adults ever diagnosed with ADHD, with a crossover occurring at age 33. Results were similar among men and women. It is not known specifically which risks drive changes in the risk of mortality documented among persons with ADHD during the transition to adulthood, the increased risk of mortality in midlife, or whether some risks operate more or less at particular ages. Additional research can lead to targeted, age- and life-course stage-focused interventions for specific risks and contribute to the reduction of ADHD-related mortality.

Peters, R., Ee, N., Ward, S., Kenning, G., Radford, K., Goldwater, M., Dodge, H., Lewis, E., Xu, Y., Kudrna, G., Hamilton, M., Peters, J., Anstey, K., Lautenschlager, N., Fitzgerald, A., Rockwood, K. (2021). Intergenerational programmes bringing together community dwelling non-familial older adults and children: A Systematic Review, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2021.104356

Social isolation is associated with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes, including functional decline, cognitive decline, and dementia. Intergenerational engagement, i.e. structured or semi structured interactions between non-familial older adults and younger generations is emerging as a tool to reduce social isolation in older adults and to benefit children and adults alike. This has great potential for our communities, however, the strength and breadth of the evidence for this is unclear. We undertook a systematic review to summarise the existing evidence for intergenerational interventions with community dwelling non-familial older adults and children, to identify the gaps and to make recommendations for the next steps. Medline, Embase and PsychInfo were searched from inception to the 28th Sept 2020. Articles were included if they reported research studies evaluating the use of non-familial intergenerational interaction in community dwelling older adults. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020175927. Twenty articles reporting on 16 studies were included. Although all studies reported positive effects in general, numerical outcomes were not recorded in some cases, and outcomes and assessment tools varied and were administered un-blinded. Caution is needed when making interpretations about the efficacy of intergenerational programmes for improving social, health and cognitive outcomes. Overall, there is neither strong evidence for nor against community based intergenerational interventions. The increase in popularity of intergenerational programmes alongside the strong perception of potential benefit underscores the urgent need for evidence-based research.

McDaniel, Susan A. 2022. “Currents of Sociology: Redux,” Current Sociology (70th anniversary issue) 70(1):142-144. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00113921211064069c

No abstract available

McDaniel, Susan A, and Amber Gazso. 2021. “COVID-19 in the Wake of the Great Recession in Canada and The U.S.: Reflections on Social Reproduction and Life Courses,” Commentary, Canadian Review of Sociology 58 (4): 587+ https://doi.org/10.1111/cars.12360

The Coronavirus has exposed for both society and policy the inequities in the social worlds we have constructed. While COVID-19 runs rampant in our grossly unequal societies, the world-wide anti-racism movement, catalyzed with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, the acceleration of the Black Lives Matter movement and growth in hate crimes against Asians, Jews and Muslims, have brought the hard lessons of ongoing racial inequities sharply home. Social hierarchies and beliefs have been disturbed as the collective realization dawns that it is not highly paid hedge fund managers, real estate developers, or corporate CEOs who keep societies going, but health care workers, teachers and day care workers, paramedics, factory and grocery store workers, truck and transit drivers, fast-food service crews, and garbage collectors. Most crucial to our societies continuing are the lowest paid of all in essential services, e.g. cleaners in hospitals, long-term care workers, and meat packing plant workers. What was previously mainly unquestioned is now sharply under interrogation.

Rohner, R., Hengl, L., Gallistl, V., & Kolland, F. (2021). Learning with and about Digital Technology in Later Life: A Socio-Material Perspective. Education Sciences, 11(11), 686. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110686

Literature has widely explored the learning processes with information and communication technology (ICT) in later life, mostly focusing on the individual learner rather than materialities—such as smartphones, notepads, and handouts. The aim of this paper is to introduce a socio-material perspective by focusing on the question: What role do materialities play in digital learning processes in later life? This paper draws upon a situation analysis of data from a qualitative multi-perspective study. Researchers conducted participatory observations of five ICT courses for older adults in Austria and semi-structured interviews with seven trainers and nine older participants (61–81 years). By identifying three social worlds (digital devices, education, and participants’ everyday lives), the findings show how ICT-learning processes are embedded in the everyday lives of older adults and include not only digital, but also everyday materialities, such as pens, paper and books. These material convoys of digital learning in later life are vital in facilitating successful technology appropriation in later life.

Waycott, J., Kelly, R. M., Baker, S., Barbosa Neves, B., Thach, K. S., & Lederman, R. (2022). The Role of Staff in Facilitating Immersive Virtual Reality for Enrichment in Aged Care: An Ethic of Care Perspective. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1145/3491102.3501956

Immersive virtual reality (VR) is being used as an enriching experience for people living in residential aged care, or nursing homes, where care staff play a critical role supporting clients to use VR. In HCI research concerned with technology use in aged care, however, the role of formal caregivers has received limited attention. We conducted interviews with 11 caregivers working in care homes that have implemented VR as part of the social program offered to residents. Our findings highlight tensions between the opportunities created by the immersive VR experience and the risks and challenges full immersion presents for people in aged care. In this paper, we draw on an ethics of care framework to make visible the care practices involved in facilitating VR in aged care homes, highlighting the care required to ensure that older adults experience benefits when using immersive VR, while risks and challenges are carefully managed.

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 Vienna, Austria

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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