Dear RC11 members,

As 2017 draws to its close, I hope you are already looking forward to the new year. Please ensure that the dates of the ISA conference in Toronto are firmly in your diary (15-21 July), to avoid any clashes with holidays or other commitments. One of our Vice-Presidents, Professor Julie McMullin, has been doing great work as Programme Coordinator for this meeting. Having undertaken this task in the past, I know that it is a demanding one. Many thanks Julie for doing this service for RC11 on this occasion!

In Vienna in 2016, we had some wonderful local members who put together a short document containing advice and recommendations for visitors new to the city. Perhaps one or more of our Canada-based members would like to tell us about what to do (and maybe what not to do : ) in Toronto? For instance, advice on places to stay and where to eat near the conference venue is always very handy.

I would also like to draw your attention to the new RC11 Emerging Scholars awards. These have already been widely advertised, which has resulted in a very good response, but please continue to spread the word. The monetary value of these awards is intended as secondary, compared to the boost that the selected early career researchers will receive from this: being able to mention this award on their CVs will help the awardees to progress in their careers. The second main aim of this scheme is to attract new members to RC11 (although, to be clear, being an old or a new member is not a criteria in selecting the awardees).

We will announce the award winners at the RC11 Business Meeting during the Toronto conference, and hope to follow this with a reception for all members. In addition to Professor Merril Silverstein and Professor Karen Lowton who have kindly taken on the role of adjudicators, we will probably need to recruit at least one additional reviewer of the entries to this completion – please let me know if you would be interested, and we will select evaluators on the basis of their match with the orientation of the papers submitted (such as expertise in the method used).

Lastly, please note that we will have elections for the new RC11 Committee in Toronto. We are always looking for new people, to start out as officers-at-large or in another role. So please consider joining the RC11 committee and influencing how our activities and initiatives shape up in the future. It is a great way of networking and contributing to the international community of sociologists of ageing.

All good wishes, Virpi.
Photo of Virpi Timonen


Announcement of RC11 Emerging Scholar Paper Award for Aging Research

The Executive Committee of Research Committee 11 (Sociology of Aging) of the International Sociological Association announces a competition for a conference participation award for best original research paper by an emerging scholar for presentation at the 2018 World Congress of Sociology 15-21 July, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. Emerging scholars include graduate students currently completing a PhD degree, and recent (five years or less) recipients of a PhD in sociology, or a related discipline, with aging or life course as a focus. Post-doctoral scholars are eligible to apply. Co-authored papers are permitted if the applicant is first author. Published work (equivalent of a ‘paper’ i.e. article or chapter) is acceptable if published in 2017 or later.

Applicants do not need to be RC11 members, but receipt of the award is conditional on membership i.e. successful applicants are expected to join RC11.

We anticipate making two awards covering the conference registration fee and reimbursement for travel costs of up to $500. Honorable mention may also be awarded to one or more applicants, covering conference registration fee only. Awardees are expected to attend the conference and present a synopsis of their papers in a special award ceremony at the RC11 business meeting in Toronto in July 2018. Applicants who received an honorable mention may also be invited to present a synopsis at this session.
Papers will be judged according to:
  • perceptiveness with which issues are treated
  • the quality of empirical materials presented (or, in the case of conceptual/theoretical papers the quality of theorizing)
  • the consistency with which an analytic framework is used
  • the originality of ideas
  • the clarity of style
Papers should be submitted by January 15th, 2018 to Professor Merril Silverstein of Syracuse University (

For conference updates please see:

Announcement of awardees will be made in late January or beginning of February, 2018.

Call for Papers

Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. Special Collection on Aging and Diverse Race and Ethnic Populations

To have your paper considered for inclusion, submit your abstract by January 1, 2018. Please be sure "GGM Disparities Special Issue” is included in the subject line of your email. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words. Please review the Manuscript Submission Guidelines before submitting your article.

Scope of the the Special Collection. Why is this important now?

Over the last 25 years, there has been a growing emphasis in the field of Gerontology to study issues related to cultural diversity. While the emphasis (and interested) on diversity-related issues has increased, there has been limited scholarship documenting paramount public health, social, behavioral, and biological concerns as they relate to the needs of older adults. We must distill important advances in the science of aging, while incorporating the evidence of scholars in gerontology, anthropology, humanities, psychology, public health, sociology, social work, biology, medicine, and other similarly related disciplines. Understanding the dynamics of social and health disparities provide a platform to appropriately address the needs of all aged persons.

With the growing number of adults from diverse race and ethnic populations nationally and globally, there is an urgency in producing and disseminating information to professionals and lay persons on issues surrounding the well-being among this adult population. An organized collection of scholarship is needed focusing on advances in the science of diversity, while underscoring important conceptual and theoretical models of aging.

This collection is intended to attract junior, mid-career, and senior scholars from multiple disciplines such as sociology, psychology, public health, nursing, medicine, and social work. Topics may include, but are not limited to: Medicare, SES, work and retirement, cognition, stress, mental health, personality, sexuality, religion, neuroscience, discrimination, long-term care, genetics, nutrition, health interventions, and end-of-life care.

The submitted manuscripts for this special collection will be peer-reviewed before publication. Limit abstracts to 250 words. Please enter “GGM Disparities Special Issue” in the subject line of your email.

General questions about the Special Collection should be sent to

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
  • Medicare
  • SES
  • Work and retirement
  • Cognition
  • Stress
  • Mental health
  • Personality
  • Sexuality
  • Religion
  • Neuroscience
  • Discrimination
  • Long-term care
  • Genetics
  • Nutrition, health interventions
  • End-of-life care
Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: January 1, 2018

Acceptance notifications with submission invitations: January 31, 2018

Manuscript submission deadline: June 30, 2018

First round of reviews completed by: September 2018

First papers published: January 1, 2019

Call of PhD and Postdoc Positions

1. Engaged Scholarship: Evaluation of Knowledge Mobilization for Older Adults

Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

With one in seven Canadians currently 65 years of age and over, it is important to know if knowledge about aging is reaching the hands of those who most need it and whether the information is used to the advantage of all Canadians. This research study, initiated by the National Initiative on the Care of the Elderly, on the mobilization of knowledge for older adults, their families, and practitioners who work with them is ongoing with funding from the SSHRC. The purpose of the program of research is to evaluate the impact of a set of pocket tools in digital and paper formats that contain straightforward evidence-based information about the core challenges of aging, specifically elder abuse, financial literacy, and caregiving. Researchers hope to complete the study by the beginning of summer 2018.

2. Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Culture and Quantified Aging

Supervisor: Dr. Barbara L. Marshall, Department of Sociology, Trent University
Location: Trent University, Peterborough, ON

We are seeking an emerging researcher to work with us on a SSHRC-funded project on “Digital Culture and Quantified Aging”. This project is funded by a 5-year Insight Grant (2017-2022), and the research team includes Dr. Barbara L. Marshall (Trent University, Principal Investigator), Dr. Stephen Katz (Trent University, Co-investigator), Dr. Isabel Pedersen (UOIT, Co-Investigator) and Dr. Wendy Martin (Brunel University London, Collaborator). We anticipate a start date in the spring of 2018 for this one-year position (with the possibility of extension).

About the project: The objectives of the project are to trace the origins and development of the digital, or algorithmic, measurement of 'age' and age-related characteristics; analyze the conceptualization, design, marketing and consumer take-up of tracking and measuring technologies aimed at aging individuals; and explore how these technologies become part of the speculative futures of aging, anti-aging, and revisions of care in aging societies. Interpreting ‘technologies’ broadly, we ask how these are reshaping concepts of age and ‘success’ in aging, how they connect to dividing practices and what forms of age governance emerge in self-tracking economies. Planned research activities include:
  • Historical and documentary research
  • Field research at technology and consumer electronic trade shows
  • Textual and visual analysis of marketing and informational materials
  • Discourse analysis of professional and popular literatures
  • Interviews, focus groups and social network analysis with users
  • Creation of a special quantified aging open access resource in a collective access database at UOIT
  • Sociological critique of frameworks and terminology in mainstream age-technology studies
  • Exploration of new theoretical areas in affective processes and governance, body aesthetics and gendered virtualities around aging.
About the position: This postdoctoral fellowship entails a yearly salary of $40,500. The successful candidate will be based at Trent University in Peterborough, but the position may involve some research travel and some activities may take place in Toronto and at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa.
The successful candidate will be expected to participate as a full team member during their tenure, engaging in independent research related to the overall project goals as well as supporting and participating in collaborative work led by other team members. This will include engaging in both primary and secondary research, organizing data and conducting qualitative data analysis. Other activities will include liaising with team members at scheduled meetings, network development with relevant technology enterprises and stakeholders, writing and presenting papers on the research, producing summaries of research for public dissemination, organization and management of meetings and workshops, and other tasks related to grant administration and knowledge mobilization.

The successful candidate will be expected to apply for membership and be active in the Trent Centre for Aging and Society.

This position will be of particular interest to a candidate from the social sciences with a background and/or interest in science and technology studies and who is willing to participate in research with both designers and users. Training will be provided by Drs. Marshall and Katz as required in preparation of applications for ethics review, observational fieldwork, interviewing and transcription and qualitative analysis. Specialized training will be provided by Dr. Pedersen on the development of a metadata scheme and keywords in relation to the development of the UOIT collection, and by Dr. Martin in visual research techniques and analysis.

Eligibility: The successful candidate will have a completed Ph.D. before beginning the position and will have received their Ph.D. within 5 years of the fellowship start date.

Application: In a single email addressed to, with the subject line “postdoctoral fellowship application” please provide the following three components as individual pdf attachments.
  • A letter (maximum 3 pages) which outlines your suitability and expertise, including planned research that aligns with the project goals, and which indicates your preferred start date
  • A CV
  • A list of three references with complete contact information, who could be called upon to write letters of recommendation
Review of applications will begin on February 1, 2018 and applications will be considered until the position is filled.


1. "Social Robots for Older People", funded by the Melbourne Networked Society (2018)

Drawing on the cross-disciplinary expertise of Computer Science, Sociology, and Bioethics, this project will examine the socio-technical and ethical challenges of deploying and using social robots among older adults living independently but receiving aged care services.

Team: Barbara Barbosa Neves with Jenny Waycott (Lead), Frank Vetere, and Simon Coghlan.


2. "Active Virtual Reality for Engaging Older Adults with Dementia in Residential Aged Care", funded by Hallmark Ageing Research Initiative and University of Melbourne (2017-2018)

This scoping study will investigate the benefits and opportunities of an active-VR system with residents in an aged care setting who are living with dementia. Active-VR systems incorporate innovative technology that allows people to actively participate in the virtual world, opening new possibilities for VR to enrich the lives of older adults, beyond the passive VR experiences currently on offer. The study will follow residents as they experience six supervised active-VR sessions over a period of four weeks. In doing so, the study will address a significant gap in the literature and provide a more in-depth understanding of the possibilities and limitations of VR technology for use with older adults living with dementia, a population for whom we lack in-depth knowledge.

Team: Barbara Barbosa Neves with Frank Vetere (Lead), Steven Baker, Jenny Waycott, & Ralph Hampson.

Research Groups and Symposiums

1. "Doing Transitions"

Goethe University Frankfurt on the Main and the University Tuebingen

The research training group "Doing Transitions" focuses on the question how transitions in the life course are formed and produced, starting from the assumption that transitions are shaped and produced through social practice. It seeks to complement transition research through the analysis of how transitions emerge, focusing on the interrelation between discourses on transitions, institutional regulation and pedagogical action as well as individual processes of learning, education and coping. Research questions address all life ages from childhood up to old age. We are looking for exchange with other poststructuralist transition researchers from across the globe to organize workshops, talks and discussions. We also offer fellowships for ECRs.

2. Ageing and New Media Symposium, Perth 2017

On the banks of the Swan River in Perth in early December 2017, a gathering of more than 50 researchers, service providers, activists and not-for-profit organisers gathered together to discuss the theme of ‘Ageing and New Media’. Delegates reported on cutting edge perspectives from across the world, including Spain, the UK, Denmark, Finland, Chile, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, India and Australia. What became clear over the course of the presentations and conversations is that new technologies work at their best when being adopted by older people for their own purposes, in their own ways, to achieve diverse goals in relation to themselves, their families and their communities. Research approaches in this field are similarly diverse, including GPS tracking, large and small surveys, indepth interviews, ethnography and co-design collaborations. Watch this space - updates on publication outcomes from the Symposium will be circulated on this Newsletter as they become available.

In the meantime, visit for further information.

Call for Conference Papers

1. 47th Annual British Society of Gerontology Conference: Ageing in an Unequal World, Shaping Environments for the 21st Century, 4 – 6 July 2018 and Emerging Researchers in Ageing (ERA) Pre-Conference Event, 3 – 4 July 2018. Manchester, UK

Please visit the Conference Website for more information:

Key Deadlines & Dates:
Abstract Submission Closes: Wednesday 24 January 2018
Abstract Notification Deadline: Thursday 29 March 2018
Early Bird Registration Deadline: Thursday 26 April 2018.

The conference welcomes symposium, paper and poster submissions from academics, researchers, practitioners, educators, policy-makers, the third sector, students, and those interested in researching ageing and later life.
To promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives of ageing, the conference will draw on abstracts from across disciplines:
  • Arts and humanities
  • Social & behavioural sciences
  • Health promotion and public health
  • Medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy & allied health professions
  • Social care
  • Social policy
  • Science, engineering & technology
  • Architecture, built environment & design
  • and other related fields.
On day one of the Conference BSG will hold three simultaneous flagship symposia where audience numbers will be larger than at other session times and symposium convenors are invited to specify if you would like your symposium to be considered for one of these.

Emerging Researchers in Ageing (ERA): Creative engAGEment: exploring strategies to maximise public involvement in ageing research: Pre-Conference Event, 3 – 4 July 2018.

If you would like the opportunity to present your research at the ERA conference, you are invited to submit an abstract for presentation of no more than 250 words with sufficient detail to allow the ERA Committee to judge the merit of the submission. Presentations will take place on Wednesday 4 July 09:00 – 11:00. The abstracts can be on any theme related to ageing or ageing populations from any discipline, and should highlight your research. Presentations will be in the format of 'Rapid fire presentations' using just one presentation slide.

Please refer to The ERA Page on the Conference Website for submission details.

Contact BSG:

Follow BSG on Twitter @BSGManchester18

2. SLLS International Conference 2018: Qualitative and Quantitative Longitudinal Research on Social Change and Its Impacts

University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, 9 - 11 July 2018 (with post-conference workshops proposed for the afternoon of Wednesday 11th July and Thursday 12th July 2018)

Submission Deadline: Friday 19th January 2018

Submission Information: Although the overall conference theme will focus on qualitative and quantitative longitudinal research on social change and its impacts, conference submissions from many areas of longitudinal and life course studies will be covered: physical, psychological, social developmental and ageing processes and functioning within and across life course stages from infancy to old age; methods and findings of cohort studies; other sources of longitudinal data such as panel studies and record linkage; international comparisons; household, and income dynamics; gene-environment interactions; ‘mixed’, and comparative methods; innovative methodology in design, measurement, data management, analysis and research practice (quantitative and qualitative).


Publications of RC 11 Members

1. Ferraro, K. F. (2018). The Gerontological Imagination: An Integrative Paradigm of Aging. Oxford University Press



The book is the first of its kind to identify intellectual common ground among scholars studying aging. Although biologists, psychologists, and social scientists share an interest in the study of aging, they are distinctive in how they conduct their research. Despite the diverse approaches to research, Ferraro identifies an underlying set of principles - an integrative paradigm for the study of aging.


2. Machat-From, Laura (2017). Identity, Old(er) Age and Migrancy: A Social Constructionist Lens. Linköping Studies in Arts and Science No. 716



Identity research in relation to ethnicity and migration has tended to focus an younger people whilst identity research in relation to ageing and old(er) age has not focused an migrants. This inadvertent mutual neglect has led to a lack of identity research that examines the identity categories of old(er) age and migrancy together, a lacuna that this dissertation aims to redress. This dissertation departs from a social constructionist understanding of identity as situationally accomplished in the interplay between how one defines oneself (internally) and how others define one (externally). The questions raised by this perspective and addressed in this dissertation are: When (in what situations) and in relation to whom do old(er) age and migrancy (respectively) seem to become meaningful for identification? How do the identity categories of old(er) age and migrancy seem to be negotiated? The empirical material consists of in-depth interviews with 24 older migrants (13 men, 11 women) aged between 55 and 79 who have been living in Sweden for 18 to 61 years. Interviewees come from 12 different countries that vary in perceived cultural distance from Sweden. The findings suggest that identifications with old(er) age and migrancy seem to be dynamic and flexible rather than necessarily permanently meaningful, thus gaining meaning in specific situations and in relation to particular Others. External definitions furthermore do not always seem to match with internal ones. Regardless of how old(er) age and migrancy are constructed, they seem to be negotiable. This dissertation thus contributes to identity research by studying old(er) age and migrancy together and furthermore sheds light onto how the social constructionist lens allows us to see variability where stability otherwise would be presumed.

3. Neves, Barbara Barbosa, Franz, R. L., Munteanu, C., & Baecker, R. (2017). Adoption and feasibility of a communication app to enhance social connectedness amongst frail institutionalized oldest old: an embedded case study. Information, Communication & Society, 1-19



The risks of social isolation and loneliness are becoming emergent issues for older adults (aged 65+) in industrialized countries, particularly for oldest old people (80+) who are frail and institutionalized. Socially isolated and lonely older people are more likely to experience depression, social disengagement, cognitive and physical decline, morbidity, and early mortality. In response to these significant negative health and socioeconomic costs, research suggests using new technologies to enhance opportunities for social connectedness as a strategy to help alleviate both social isolation and loneliness. In this context, following a participatory design method, we developed an accessible communication app with and for frail institutionalized older adults. To test the adoption of this innovative technology and its feasibility to address social isolation and loneliness, we conducted a two-month deployment of the app in a long-term care home with five oldest old and their relatives. Due to access, recruitment, and ethical challenges, the oldest old are a specially understudied group. Using an embedded case study (based on interviews, psychometric scales, field observations, and usability and accessibility testing) and a recursive approach to technology studies, our findings show that technology adoption is based on a complex set of interrelated factors: social, attitudinal, physical, digital literacy, and usability. We also discuss the feasibility of the app to enhance perceived social connectedness amongst our target population, provided that at least one strong tie is involved and communication norms and expectations across generations are considered.

4. Katz, S. (2017). Generation X: A Critical Sociological Perspective, Generations, 41(3), 12-19



This article revisits the concept of generation through a critical sociological lens in order to apply its utility to Generation X as a social field. Discussion includes the relationship between Generation X and Baby Boomers, the background to the meaning of Generation X, and the historical and cultural dichotomies that define Generation X. It concludes with a conversation between the author (a Baby Boomer) and a member of Generation X.

5. Quan-Haase, A., Mo, G. Y., & Wellman, B. (2017). Connected seniors: how older adults in East York exchange social support online and offline. Information, Communication & Society, 20(7), 967-983



How do older adults mobilize social support, with and without digital media? To investigate this, we focus on older adults 65+ residing in the Toronto locality of East York, using 42 interviews lasting about 90 minutes done in 2013–2014. We find that digital media help in mobilizing social support as well as maintaining and strengthening existing relationships with geographically near and distant contacts. This is especially important for those individuals (and their network members) who have limited mobility. Once older adults start using digital media, they become routinely incorporated into their lives, used in conjunction with the telephone to maintain existing relationships but not to develop new ones. Contradicting fears that digital media are inadequate for meaningful relational contact, we found that these older adults considered social support exchanged via digital media to be real support that cannot be dismissed as token. Older adults especially used and valued digital media for companionship. They also used them for coordination, maintaining ties, and casual conversations. Email was used more with friends than relatives; some Skype was used with close family ties. Our research suggests that policy efforts need to emphasize the strengthening of existing networks rather than the establishment of interventions that are outside of older adults’ existing ties. Our findings also show that learning how to master technology is in itself a form of social support that provides opportunities to strengthen the networks of older adults.

6. Neves, Barbara Barbosa, Franz, R., Judges, R., Beermann, C., & Baecker, R. (2017). Can Digital Technology Enhance Social Connectedness Among Older Adults? A Feasibility Study. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 0733464817741369



This study examined the feasibility of a novel communication technology to enhance social connectedness among older adults in residential care. Research suggests that technology can create opportunities for social connectedness, helping alleviate social isolation and loneliness. Studies on implementation and feasibility of such technological interventions, particularly among frail and institutionalized older adults, are scant. Data were gathered in a 3-month deployment with 12 older adults, including semistructured interviews with participants and relatives/friends, psychometric scales, field observations, and usability tests. Data were analyzed with qualitative profiling, thematic analysis, and Friedman tests. The technology was a feasible communication tool, although requiring an adaptation period. Use increased perceived social interaction with ties, but increased social connectedness (meaningful social interaction) was only reported by participants with geographically distant relatives. Sense of well-being and confidence with technology was enhanced, but negative effects were also observed. Findings are useful for researchers and practitioners interested in technological interventions.


Virpi Timonen, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland


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


Lucie Vidovicová, Masaryk University, Czech Republic


Esteban Calvo, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile


Ignacio Madero-Cabib, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile


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