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The 7th International Symposium on Cultural Gerontology. The Inaugural Conference of the European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS)

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Tine Fristrup - Speaker

Panel 13 - Theorizing Age Paper: The Performative Turn in Gerontology: PerformAge This conference aims to discuss the challenges that inter- and multi-disciplinary research into aging and later life faces. Not only do disciplines such as gerontology, sociology, history, philosophy, and the arts vary in the way they question age-related matters and implement various methodologies to provide answers to these questions, they also use different sets of concepts and terminologies, or use the same concepts but define them differently. Therefore, discipline-challenging dialogues will be generated at this conference along three paradigm shifts in the cross-disciplinary study of aging. First, the critical turn in gerontology refers to the meta-reflection on the nature and practice of gerontology within gerontology itself. Critical gerontologists scrutinize how gerontology is affected by the quest of the natural sciences for the truth of old age. They focus on the way knowledge of old age is constructed and explain how age, as a salient identity marker next to gender, ethnicity, disability and class, causes inequalities between people. These inequalities based on chronological and biological age are to some extent institutionalized. Second, the narrative turn in gerontology refers to the interest in the way age identities are constituted in and through narratives. The word narrative, as a widespread travelling concept, helps to define aging as a development through time, negotiating between personal aspirations and the expectations of the master narratives we are inscribed in. Narrative gerontology, on the one hand, starts from the metaphor of life as story and aims to get a better understanding of aging through the stories older people use to express their experiences. Literary gerontology, on the other hand, studies the cultural representation of aging and old age in literature, and, by extension, other art forms. Third, the performative turn in gerontology, which may be called the rise of age(ing) studies, refers to the defining of age both in terms of being and doing. Theories of performativity claim that age identities are formed and perpetuated through the repetition of behavioral scripts connected to chronological ages and life stages. Since these repetitions can never be identical to the original scripts, there is room for subversion and change.
7 Oct 2011


ConferenceThe 7th International Symposium on Cultural Gerontology. The Inaugural Conference of the European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS)


ID: 55712979