RC-11 has its origins in the 1974 VIIIth ISA World Congress in Toronto, Canada, when Harold Orbach was designated by the Council of the International Sociological Association to organize a program on the ‘Sociology of Aging’ . In 1975 Harold participated in an ISA Research Committee Council meeting in Paris where the research committee was formed and given the number 11. Thus, the IXth ISA World Congress in Uppsala, Sweden, in 1978 was the first congress where we were a fully functioning research committee. The current RC 11 Bylaws Amendments were approved on 26th July 2006 at the RC11 Business Meeting, which took place during the XVIth ISA World Congress in Durban, South Africa.

The purpose of the Research Committee on Ageing is to encourage high quality research on ageing within and between countries. While RC 11 develops its own programme of activities and scholarly presentations at meetings of the ISA and at special Inter-Congress meetings, it also collaborates with other RCs in related areas, such as RC06 (Families), RC10 (Social Participation), RC13 (Leisure), RC15 (Health), RC19 (Social Policy), RC30 (Work), and RC55 (Social Indicators).