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PerformAge: Figuring Age Performativities

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The accountability discourse made possible by the bio-power (Michel Foucault, 1976/1978:139)unfolds the different facets of the phenomenon of individual and societal aging as a new aging discourse represented by images of independence, social mobility, and agency (Stephen Katz ans Debbie Laliberte-Rudman, 2005:140). Becoming a subject to aging is becoming a subject to different perspectives on aging offering different subject positions (Wetherell, 1998) in order to become in order as an ageing self in contemporary society. In the bio-medical model of aging the practitioners’ knowledge production regimes are constituted as experts on aging. In the humanistic model of aging, the aging self becomes the expert on the process of becoming of age. Thi sconflicting aspect of the discursive battlefield on aging will be elaborated in the framework of PerformAge and understood as a temporal and spatial theorising of aging: the poetics of aging.

Making the lived experience the centrepiece of this paper, poetic representations of aging lives (Laurel Richardson, 1991, 1992) will articulate subjectively felt experiences in social encounters between people performing age. In writing the social (Dorothy E. Smith, 1999) encounters, I as a researcher perform age in the process of figuring the possible age performativities as subject positioning performativity (Judith Butler, 1995) in the social encounters and textualized in poetic representations.

Inspired by the work on Reifungsromane (Barbara Frey Waxman, 1990), I do not want to paint a uniformly rosy picture of aging and old age, but unfold an opening up of life taking the heroines and heroes of aging life to the open road in search of themselves and new roles in life as a quest of self-knowledge, self-development – a role for the future. Different viewpoints enabling readers to identify closely with the aging self in motion – a life still in becoming as PerformAge.

Original languageEnglish
Publication year2012
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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