Call for Papers – Conference “Contextualizing Productive Aging in Asia” (Deadline: 15 September 2016)

Dr. Pei-Chun Ko
Date: 13 Mar 2017 – 14 Mar 2017
Venue: Asia Research Institute, Seminar Room AS8, Level 4, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260

“Productive Aging” emphasizes older adults’ engagement in productive activities, including working, care giving, volunteering or helping in later life. Asian countries (especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia) face demographic aging in different scales and speeds. In this conference, we aim to address determinants of productive aging in Asia from a multilevel perspective to understand how communities, families and individual factors can facilitate engagement of older adults in Asia.

Take coresidence as an example to illustrate why family factors matter to older adults, cultural values of older adults living with family in later life are prevalent across Asian countries. However, declining coresidence rates and increasing numbers of golden agers living alone may affect older adults’ motivations and engagement in productive activities once they are detached from family. Other family factors, including intergenerational support to older parents, proximity between parents and children, or adult children’s need of childcare may also influence older adults’ motivations and opportunities to engage in productive activities. More studies are needed to research on family factors in relation to productive aging in Asia.

Older adults stay in their residential communities longer than adults at working age. Studies based on Western countries showed that older adults in disadvantaged communities face the difficulty to be connected socially. It is because community contexts not only include infrastructure, facilities and space that help generate productive activities, but also relate to residential composition and social welfare resources that may enhance older adults’ motivation and senses of participation. It would be important to investigate the impacts of community contexts on productive engagement in Asia.

Many Asian countries have had reforms in pension, long-term care and health care. Incentives related to productive aging are also implemented in developed countries. These differences in policies and institutional support across Asian countries may indirectly influence the rates and intensity of engagement in productive activities across countries. It will be relevant to conduct cross-national studies to understand how different welfare and policy settings are associated with productive aging.

Theoretically informed empirical studies, especially those with cross-national and cross-temporal comparisons are welcome. Participants are invited to address the following themes in the conference:
•    Prevalence and profiles of productive engagement;
•    Attitudes towards productive aging;
•    Intergenerational support and family structures in relation to engagement in productive activities;
•    Community contexts, such as the rural-urban divide, socio-demographic features, infrastructure, types of services or organizations;
•    Cross-national comparative studies in productive aging;
•    How factors at different levels (micro, meso and macro) interact to shape productive aging;
•    Conceptual and methodological issues, such as definitions, data harmonization and methodological innovations.


Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (300 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission by 15 September 2016. Please send all proposals, using the provided proposal template to Dr Pei-Chun Ko at The submissions need to be for original, unpublished papers and we plan to publish a special collection after the conference.

Successful applicants will be notified by 1 October 2016 and will be required to send in a completed draft paper (6,000 to 8,000 words) by 17 February 2017.

Based on the quality of proposals and availability of funds, partial or full funding may be granted to successful applicants. Participants are therefore encouraged to seek fund for travel from their home institutions. Secretariat Ms Valerie Yeo will make further contact regarding the details.


Dr Pei-Chun KO
Asia Research Institute, and Centre for Family and Population Research
National University of Singapore
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Prof Wei-Jun Jean YEUNG
Asia Research Institute, Centre for Family and Population Research, and the Department of Sociology
National University of Singapore
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