Category Archives: journal

Recent publications in review

In the last quarter of 2016, we have identified about 60 articles published at the crossroads of anthropology and gerontology. AAGE members published no less than a quarter of those articles, attesting to the prolific activity in this group. This periodical update of recent publications will be a regular feature of AAGE, and each update will be supplemented by a brief commentary that elaborates on a couple of the member contributions.

While all of these contributions deserve a read for those of us interested in the state of the field, for this post I want to highlight just two articles, both of which discuss the role of social engagement and how it relates to successful aging.

linguistic strategies in intergenerational communication can enhance well-being

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CFP: Morality and Aging (special issue of Anthropology & Aging)

We are seeking additional contributors for a special issue we plan to
propose. Responding to recent trends in ‘moral anthropology’, the issue
will be specifically concerned with moralities in and through the latter
stages of the life course. How, we ask, might moralities intersect with
ageing?Just as the life course is bodily lived and socially shaped so is it
morally mediated. How are the latter stages of the life course mediated,
interpreted, judged, or de/valued with and through moral frames? Meanings
of ‘the good’, for example, may shift with advancing age, while moral
discourses may map how ageing is to be both lived and interpreted. As with
recent ideals of ‘successful ageing’, what it means to grow old may itself
be imbued with moral imperative.While contributions must be ethnographically grounded, we encourage potential contributors to take an exploratory approach to the topic.
The issue is edited by Andrew Dawson and Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins (The
University of Melbourne), and will be proposed to Anthropology & Aging.Potential contributors should send an abstract (max. 250 words) and a brief
bio to goodwin@unimelb.edu.au by April 4th.We will notify the selected contributors of the article deadline after the
acceptance of our proposal.

Best wishes,

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins

CFP: Anthropology & Aging special issue on “aging in place and on the move”

5668422609_f8af695939_zDemographers report that older people are more mobile today than they have ever been. Retirement migration is no longer the luxury of the wealthy elite, and is often undertaken as an economic strategy for those unable to afford aging at home. Aging can activate north to south migration for those in search of warmer climes and cheaper healthcare, as well as south to north migration for those who care for and are cared for by younger generations. As people around the world continue to age and live even longer, it will be critical to consider how age, generation and the life course shape the meanings of migration, making homes, and moving and being still.

Just as mobility in later life is becoming more commonplace, staying put is also undergoing a revival of sorts. With a growing and more diverse aging population, the rigid structures of formal and institutional care are providing opportunities to think about what it means to ‘age-in-place’ or to continue occupying a home and a community. What happens then to the family in eldercare as family member share responsibilities with community-based care services, such as a visiting care workers, nurses, and hospice staff? How do these regimes of translocal care create forms of mobility/stagnation around families and older persons? How does this contend with a care staff which is becoming more mobile, surgical, and always on the go?

This special Anthropology & Aging issue will examine immobilities and mobilities, homecoming and making new homes, and aging-in-place and on the move.

Possible topics include

  • aging-in-place – policies, practices, undiscovered research
  • Meanings of community and translocality
  • Neighborhoods and the role of older persons in community and relational governance
  • “Snowbirds” and other migrant elderscapes (e.g. retirement schemes)
  • The topology and dynamics of intergenerational relationships
  • Home visits, care delivery, technologies in and of the home
  • Displacement of older adults, refugees, migrant families
  • Return migration in old age (narratives and practices of homecoming)
  • Roles of older adults in easing immigrant transitions
  • Infrastructures of emplacement and mobility
  • Health/Medical tourism
  • “Active aging” as moving in place

Deadline for all submissions – June 1, 2016

Authors notified of publication status – August 1, 2016

Issue published – November 2016

Full information for authors available on the website http://anthro-age.pitt.edu

Any questions regarding submissions and the CFP may be directed to: journal@anthropologyandgerontology.

Style/formats

A&A accepts a variety of writing styles and formats, from reflective and conversational commentaries and field reports, to more detailed and elaborate articles and reviews. The best way to get a feeling for this is to browse the archives, which are all available for free on the website.

All submissions are handled digitally. At least one author must register (free) and upload the file on the website. Emailed submissions will no longer be accepted. All submissions should be in Word or Rich Text format, following the American Anthropological Association style guide for citations and references (which is actually the current edition of the Chicago Manual of Style), but otherwise with as little special formatting as possible. We welcome figures, tables, and images but ask that they be submitted separately as supplementary files. Article submissions are desk reviewed before being passed on to a double-blind peer-review process. Other submissions are reviewed by the editorial staff and advisory board. Published work is open-access and protected by Creative Commons copyright.

We encourage submissions from students and early career scholars interested in making sure their work reaches the most established scholars in the anthropology of aging. One way that we try to make our journal accessible to all authors is to avoid expensive publication costs. If an article or commentary is accepted, however, we ask that lead authors become members of AAGE to help defray the cost. We also hope that membership will provide further opportunities to build on successful publication though activities like conferences, social events, blogging, and listserv discussions.

Thanks

Danely_J_p0077392What can I say, I live in the UK where we don’t have a Thanksgiving to celebrate today (although for some reason they still have Black Friday), but I am feeling very, very thankful.

Thank you

to everyone who cast their vote in this year’s AAGE election. It is an honor and a privilege for me to accept the role as President-Elect of AAGE, and  following the examples of my predecessors, I look forward to what all of us can achieve together over the next three years. I also want to congratulate Ender Ricart who was elected to Secretary of AAGE, and thank her for taking on this key responsibility.

This year’s election saw a record turnout, and that to me is a good sign that there are dozens of members out there eager to participate and make the most of their membership. Over the next three years, my goal is to create the opportunities for members to get more involved in AAGE, whether you are a retired professional or a first-year Masters student. These opportunities will include chances to highlight your work in a blog post or member news column on our website, better forums for collaborating, networking and organizing events, mentoring of student members, contributing to our organizational history project, and creating links with other organizations. These opportunities should support individuals’ goals while at the same time strengthening the activity within AAGE in a way that attracts greater attention from outside. I hope that everyone who attended the AAA and GSA conferences this year is feeling energized and ready to start thinking about how to make the most of AAGE to disseminate research, find resources, and find your place in this global intellectual community. While I was unable to attend, I hope to hear more about all of your papers and posters soon.

AAGE would not be able to take steps toward expanding our activities were it not for the tremendous efforts and personal dedication of our two past presidents, Samantha Solimeo and Iveris Martinez. It was Samantha who, back in 2011 asked me to take over editorship of the AAGE journal, Anthropology and Aging Quarterly, through which we had the opportunity to work more closely and cultivate a shared vision of the organization. Having brought a new level of professionalization to the journal (e.g., registering an official ISSN number, organizing a peer-review system), Samantha went on to tackle the organizational challenge of AAGE as a whole. After several months of detective work, she managed to find the organization’s badly outdated by-laws and create a plan to revise them in line with the most recent regulations for 501c3 non-profit organizations. It was not until mid-2015 that Samantha’s work finally achieved this tremendous goal, putting us on a much firmer footing and earning her our endless gratitude.

Iveris worked alongside Samantha during this process and has also been integral in the task of organizing Although I was unable to attend, I was very excited when I found out about the plans to have an AAGE workshop/conference in Miami Florida last February. The report on the conference can be read here. Unni Karunakara’s key note address at the event was published in the June issue of Anthropology & Aging here. I look forward to working more closely with Iveris in my year as President-Elect.

Although I am excited about taking on this new role in AAGE, it does mean that I will also have to step away from my former role as Editor of Anthropology & Aging. I am grateful for the last four years working with the journal staff, editorial board, reviewers, and most importantly, the contributors without whom we could have no journal at all. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish over my tenure as Editor, and I know that we are on track to continue improving the journal as the organization expands and brings in new ideas and talent. For me, Anthropology & Aging is more than a convenient venue for publishing our work and furthering our careers (although this is an important part of it to be sure). It is also a place where we share ideas to push the field forward, an intellectual home where the inhabitants speak my language, a resource that brings our work to a global audience. It is, in other words, a symbol of AAGE’s values and a means by which we try to achieve those values. In 2016, Anthropology & Aging will be publishing volume 37, and while four years may not be very long in the history of the journal, we have made some significant changes that I hope will have a lasting effect.

When I took on the role of editor, I remember clearly being told that the time commitment was somewhere along the lines of “four hours a month.” That may have been so for the journal that we were, but not for the journal that I came to envision. It was a steep learning curve. Having never edited a journal before, I proceeded cautiously at first, expanding the editorial board, then making small changes to the layout design. These changes were just the beginning. I soon got the idea that the newsletter content, like conference guides, member news, elections information, and other business could be moved from the journal to the website, and that by concentrating mainly on scholarly and research content, the journal could become a more attractive place to publish and potentially reach a wider audience. After my first year as Editor-in-Chief, we produced four issues with more of this academic content than we had had in the previous eight years, including a double special issue, and an issue inaugurating the new Portfolio section of visual representations of aging around the world.

In the second year, the journal moved from being a largely static pdf, circulated only among the membership, to an open-access journal integrated with the new organization website. The special issue on the Body was a particular success during this time, comprising five peer-reviewed articles, a five-page portfolio of artwork, and a commentary/response format piece by our new Secretary, Ender Ricart. This was a fun, but exhausting issue to put together, and by the end of it, I had asked Phil Kao and Jonathan Skinner to take the reins of the next few issues while I was on a one-year fieldwork fellowship in Japan. Between Phil, Jonathan, and myself working from the field, we managed to produce two more issues: Silver Linings: Older People Defying Expectations, and Aging, Sex and Well-Being in Brazil.

Phil had been an AAGE member at least as long as I had, and was completing a Post-Doc at University Pittsburgh when he started as my co-editor. It was thanks to Phil that we were able to finally create the website we use today, based on the Open Journal Systems platform. Not only does the website function in a more coherent and intuitive way for visitors, but it contains the entire review and editing process. This was the same platform used by major groundbreaking anthropology journals like HAU, as well as smaller niche journals like ours. We have since produced three issues using the new website, enough to break it in a bit and figure out the kinks. Time enough as well to allow the journal managers to apply for additional index/abstracting through databases like EBSCO and ProQuest. The journal would be more accessible and more citable than it had ever been. A recent article in the Annual Reviews of Anthropology on Aging and Care by Elana Buch cited six different articles that had been published in Anthropology & Aging while I had been editor. While the author is a member of AAGE and familiar with the journal, she has obviously found it valuable as well.

I am sure that my role in the journal is far from over. That’s fine by me. Designing covers, getting to read the latest work from students just emerging from the field, and working with important and established scholars as board members and reviewers, has been an honor and a joy. Producing and issue, promoting it to the world and watching the hits climb on our analytics page is a little thrill. I will continue to do what I can during my term as President and beyond to encourage our members around the world to publish in Anthropology & Aging, and to raise the profile of the journal and the field in the years to come.

With a solid organizational foundation and a vibrant journal, AAGE is now in a strong position to grow and flourish. Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to get to know more members working and studying in Europe, and have been impressed with some of the strong submissions to the journal from outside North America, where AAGE began and held most of its meetings. In thinking about the future of the organization, I can see a much stronger role for these Europe-based scholars, and for AAGE as a bridge between North America and the international community. We are also attracting interest from other groups with interest in the life course. Working with the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group of the AAA, some of our members have formed a Collaborative Research Network to organize joint conferences and create a forum for new conceptualizations of the fundamental nature of the life course today. Links like these not only broaden the appeal of our work, but is a catalyst for bringing about new lines of inquiry.

In the spirit of keeping the momentum of projects like this going, I will make regular blog contributions and encourage other members to do the same. My introduction to AAGE began with conversations over dinner at the AAA meeting in San Jose, and I still think of this organization as a way to make those important connections and keep the conversation rolling between meetings. I look forward to many more chances to keep in touch, and hope everyone has a as much gratitude as I have this Thanksgiving.

Jason Danely

Anthropology & Aging Vol. 36 no.2: “Aging the Technoscape”

AAQ36(2)cover_4smThe November issue of A&A gathers contributions on the themes of aging and technology, but as the wording “Aging the Technoscape” suggests, the issue is not simply about how older people use technologies or how new technology will change the future of aging. After all, there is already quite a lot of that around. Last week, San Francisco hosted the “Aging 2.0 Agetech Expo” (Nov 19-20) featuring the latest innovations from dozens of companies in various areas of care technology. Companies like Google’s Calico, Amazon’s 126 Lab, and Panasonic are all investing in technology that will be used by older adults. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced last year a “Robot  Revolution” in Japan, with unprecedented spending on elder care robotics (about

₤14.3 billion). As new genetic and stem cell technology is changing the way we look at birth, life-extending and monitoring technologies are changing the future of aging.

But aging the technoscape (or ‘aging’ anything else for that matter) is not only about imagining new futures. It is also about rethinking our present-day world with a close attention to the fundamental role of age, generation, and the life course.

Since the technoscape is often assumed to be a world that privileges youth, aging the technoscape means questioning assumptions about generational barriers and about old age in particular. Aging the technoscape also has another purpose: in rethinking the way age influences how we develop and use technology, we are also compelled to ask new questions about the technoscape itself, questioning the values and norms it seems to support and circulate. As technology changes aging, aging is changing how we create and use technology.

Each of the contributions to this issue take up this idea from slightly different perspectives, contributing to our theoretical frameworks and responding to practical concerns. The technoscape puts anthropologists and gerontologists in touch with designers, engineers, and community stakeholders; it helps us consider the material worlds older people and carers inhabit; and it invites us to imagine futures where technology can be playful, empowering, and a catalyst for new forms of social connectivity and personal expression. We hope that the content helps to inspire more discussion on aging and technology from the classrooms to the care home.

Jason Danely, Editor

Contents Vol. 36 no.2

Commentary and Research Reports
Editor’s Commentary on special issue
Jason Danely 110-111
Towards a Gerontoludic Manifesto
Bob De Schutter & Vero Vanden Abeele 112-120
Responses by Robert Rubinstein, Michael Brazda, Caitrin Lynch and Maruta Vitols 121-126
Designing for Aging: Perspectives on Technology, Older Adults, and Educating Engineers
Caitrin Lynch 127-134
Embedding Engineers in Care Homes when Researching New Technologies
Greet Baldewijns, Tom Croonenborghs, & Bart Vanrumste 135-144

Articles
Multivalent moves in senior home care: From surveillance to care-valence
Peter A. Lutz 145-163
Societal Participation of the Elderly: Information and Communication Technologies as a “Social Junction”
Peter Biniok &  Iris Menke 164-180
Conceptual Frameworks and Practical Applications to Connect Generations in the Technoscape
    Matthew Kaplan, Mariano Sánchez, & Leah Bradley  181-205

Portfolio
Longing Glances: Photographs from the Far from Home series
Bes Young 206-211
Book Reviews (go to general table of contents and select individual pdfs)
Aging, the Individual, and Society, 10th Edition (S. Hillier & G. M. Barrow)
Rachel S. Reed 212-213
Aging in Rural Places: Policies, Programs, and Pro-fessional Practice (K. M. Hash & J.A. Krout, eds.)
T. Thao Pham 214-215
Aging, Corporeality and Embodiment (C. Gilleard, P. Higgs)
Arantza Begueria 216-217
Aging Bones: A Short History of Osteoporosis (G. Grob )
Matthew J. Kesterke 218-219
Aging, Media, and Culture (C.L. Harrington, D.D. Bielby & A.R. Bardo, eds.)
Ruth N. Grendell 220-221
What Older Americans Think:  Interest Groups and Aging Policy (C.L. Day)
  Jennifer A. Wagner 222-223
Unforgotten: Love and the Culture of Dementia Care in India (B. Brijnath)
Nirmala Jayaraman 224-225

 

Anthropology & Aging is continuously reviewing submissions. If you would like to receive updates when we announce calls, register free at our website. You may also register as an author or reviewer at the same time.

If you have any questions regarding the journal, please contact us: journal@anthropologyandgerontology.com

 

 

Special issue ideas for Anthropology & Aging

Anthropology & Aging are already at work brainstorming ideas for the next special issue for Fall 2016!

Here are some of the suggestions from the last AAGE meeting held at AAA Confernece in Washington DC last December:

The old old(1)

Emotion and Aging

Age identification

Caregiving of and by elderly persons (4)

Gendered Aging (1)

Aging in Post-war societies

Aging in institutions (1)

Aging and Visual Representation (1)

Aging and Transnational care (1)

Aging and Life course

Meanign of retirement and life course transitions

Aging and Policy

Aging in Diaspora

Old Bones- osteoporosis, activity, shrinkage, etc.

Aging on the move- migrations, transportation, mobility

*(numbers in bracket represent the number of additional votes of interest indicated at the meeting)

Do you have an idea for organizing a special issue?

Want to organize those papers from the last AAA, GSA, SfAA, AGHE, or other conferences into a special section?

We are accepting any ideas you may have about special issues. If you have an idea or some comments on one of the topics above, please leave it below. This way additional responses can build up into potential collaborations or more refined thoughts.

If you already have the beginnings of an organized group submission, email your idea and any details (proposal, titles, abstracts, number of papers, type of submission, etc.) to journal@anthropologyandgerontology.com.

We plan to put out a CFP by October with a deadline on or around June 1, 2016.

Looking forward to all of your ideas!

Jason Danely
Editor-in-Chief, Anthropology & Aging

 

 

Anthropology & Aging Vol.36 no.1

AAQ35(1)cover_3sm

link to the issue

The June 2015 issue of Anthropology & Aging features the latest commentaries, articles, and reviews, available free now through our open-access agreement. In addition to our usual content, this issue includes a commentary/response format first introduced in the special issue on the body (33.3) and reintroduced in this issue by Maruta Vitols and Caitrin Lynch’s piece on representations of aging in films and a reflective response by A&A co-editor Philip Kao. Stephanie May de Montigny’s Portfolio continues this discussion of performance, narrative, and creativity on the stage. We hope these contributions spark more interest and interaction here on our blog as well as in cafes and classrooms everywhere!

Every issue of Anthropology & Aging that we produce depends on the skills and time volunteered by our editorial staff, our board, peer reviewers, and digital publishing support. This issue is especially exciting because also it showcases the work happening across the Association of Anthropology and Gerontology—from supporting student work with the Margaret Clark Award, to the international conference held last February.

Anthropology & Aging 36(1) begins with an commentary adapted from the keynote address delivered by past International President of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders  (MSF), Dr. Unni Karunakara at the 2015 AAGE Conference on “Health Disparities in Aging” hosted by Florida International University. Dr. Karunakara writes from the front lines of global public health and humanitarian response, and his evaluation of the recognition (or lack thereof) of the important roles of older people in high risk, post-disaster circumstances reveals the need to rethink how aid organizations are held accountable for including older adults as a priority in their work.

In addition to Dr. Karunakara’s Keynote, the AAGE conference also provided a chance for our organization to support student research and professionalization. One of our banner activities in this regard has been the awarding of the Margaret Clark award for student papers. In 2014 AAGE awarded two Margaret Clark Awards, one at the graduate level (Ben Kasstan, Durham University), and another at the undergraduate level (Lilly Lerer, University of Chicago). The awardees both revised their papers into articles and braved the peer-review process to be accepted for publication in A&A. Ben Kasstan’s article focuses on the voices and experiences of Shoah survivors at a UK day center mediate their experiences of past trauma by incorporating elements of Judaism, literally through food and memory. Lilly Lerer’s article is a sensitive and intimate account of her fieldwork with hospice patients and staff as they mutually embody a temporality of ‘slow care’ that contrasts with the efficient and cure-centered care of the biomedical end of life settings.

Care is a theme running throughout this issue, and, as the authors note, throughout current discussions of doing anthropology in the Anthropocene. Two additional articles in this issue take up the theme of care for older adults. Iza Kavedžija’s ethnographically rich depiction of community care in urban Japan looks at the co-productions of categories of ‘elderly’ and ‘carer’ as individuals move through various care settings, employing symbolic and linguistic cues that mark roles and relationships along a spectrum of social potentialities. Fetterolf, a student member of AAGE, examines healing in Alzheimer’s care in the US, adopting a case study approach, proposing that close attention to personhood creates ‘bridges’ to providing better care.

Enjoy this issue and we look forward to bringing you our next special issue on “Aging the Technoscape” in the Fall. CFP is still open until June 30 for this issue, and general submissions on other topics are always welcome!

Anthropology & Aging Books to Review!

Aging in America (County and City Extra Series) by Robert L. Scardamalia ·  Series: County and City Extra Series

·  Hardcover: 446 pages ·  Publisher: Bernan Press (June 17, 2014)·  Language: English ·  ISBN-10: 1598887025·  ISBN-13: 978-1598887020

Protecting Seniors Against Environmental Disasters: From Hazards and Vulnerability to Prevention and Resilience…by Michael R Greenberg ·  Series: Earthscan Risk in Society ·  Hardcover: 228 pages ·  Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 21, 2014)·  Language: English ·  ISBN-10: 0415842018  ISBN-13: 978-0415842013
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Aging: The Role of Gerontological Social Workby Noell L Rowan and Nancy L Giunta ·  Hardcover: 352 pages  Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (February 4, 2015)  Language: English ·  ISBN-10: 1138842087 ·  ISBN-13: 978-1138842083
Aging in Canada  by Neena L. Chappell and Marcus J. Hollander 20 September 2013 ISBN 9780195447668
Unfinished Work: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce by Joseph Coleman  Feb 2, 2015 ·  ISBN-10: 0199974454 ·  ISBN-13: 978-0199974450
New Directions in the Sociology of Aging by Social Epidemiology, and the Sociology of Aging Panel on New Directions in Social Demography, Committee on Population, Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education and National Research Council (Jan 9, 2014) Publication Date: January 9, 2014 | ISBN-10: 0309292972 | ISBN-13: 978-0309292979
Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives by James P. Smith, Malay Majmundar, Panel on Policy Research and Data Needs to Meet the Challenge of Aging in Asia and Committee on Population (Apr 2, 2013)
Aging Femininities: Troubling Representations by Josephine Dolan and Estella Tincknell (Jun 1, 2012) Publication Date: June 1, 2012 | ISBN-10: 1443838837 | ISBN-13: 978-1443838832
Aging, Culture and Society: A Sociological Approach (Social Perspectives in the 21st Century) by Jason L., Ph.D. Powell (Aug 6, 2013) ·  ISBN-10: 1628089601·  ISBN-13: 978-1628089608
Global Aging, China and Urbanization (Social Perspectives in the 21st Century) by Jason L. Powell (Sep 7, 2013) ISBN-13: 978-1628084528 ISBN-10: 1628084529
Caring Across Generations: The Linked Lives of Korean American Families by Grace J. Yoo and Barbara W. Kim (Jun 20, 2014)
Physical Change and Aging, Sixth Edition: A Guide for the Helping Professions by Sue V. Saxon PhD, Mary Jean Etten EdD GNP FT and Dr. Elizabeth A. Perkins PhD RNMH (Sep 26, 2014) Publication Date: September 26, 2014 | ISBN-10: 0826198643 | ISBN-13: 978-0826198648 | Edition: 6
Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Volume 34, 2014 ISBN: 01988794
Sexuality and Dementia: Compassionate and Practical Strategies for Dealing with Unexpected or Inappropriate Behaviors…Douglas Wornell MD (December 13, 2013) ·  ISBN-10: 1936303558·  ISBN-13: 978-1936303557 Edition: 1
Youdin, Robert. Clinical Gerontological Social Work Practice. Springer Pub Co. 2014. ISBN-13: 978-0826129895 pp. 288 $64.02
The Inner Life of the Dying Person (End-of-Life Care: A Series) by Allan Kellehear (Jun 3, 2014)
Growing Old in Cameroon: Gender, Vulnerability, and Social Capital by Charles Che Fonchingong (Dec 11, 2013) Publication Date: December 11, 2013 | ISBN-10: 0761861254 | ISBN-13: 978-0761861256
Exploring the Lives of Aging Lesbians on Lake Superior’s North Shore: An ethnographic study uniting the demographics… by Angela C. Nichols (Nov 7, 2013)

If you are interested in reviewing these titles, contact
Joann Kovacich, Anthropology and Aging Book Reviews Editor
School of Advanced Studies
Online Faculty, University of Phoenix

jkovacich@rochester.rr.com

CFP Aging the technoscape: Anthropology & Aging- June 1 deadline

Long-term care resident plays with Paro, the robot seal

Long-term care resident plays with Paro, the robot seal

The technoscape, as described by Appadurai (1990) in his seminal work on globalization, refers to the “global configuration, ever fluid, of technology,” as well as the permeations of technology through other domains of economic and social life. Over the last 25 years, the technoscape has become dominated by an array of digital technologies, virtual worlds, and forms of mobile connectedness that are no longer used or designed by or for younger cohorts alone. The Pew Research Center reports that 43% of Americans over 65 use social networking sites (three times that recorded only five years prior); Japan has dedicated the equivalent of 22 million dollars in its 2013 budget to the development of robots to assist in eldercare; and many large-scale initiatives are linking aging and technology through ethnographic research, such as the Intel Corporation’s Global Aging Experience Project and the MIT AgeLab.

This special issue seeks to explore not only the impact of new technologies on the lives of older people around the world, but also how theories arising out of socio-cultural anthropology and gerontology can reveal new dimensions of the technoscape that may go unnoticed in youth-dominated popular discourse. We seek submissions grounded in empirical evidence that goes beyond simple juxtapositions of technologies and aging, but finds ways in which they blend, combine, and (re)shape each other. Possible submission topics might include:

  • time/space in the technoscape of telemedicine and care-related apps
  • technoscapes of surveillance and connectedness (emergency call pendants, assistive robots, e.g.)
  • changing representations of aging in the technoscape (imaging technology, art and tech)
  • technology as a focus of older cohort sociality and leisure (computer classes, tablet tea times, e.g.)
  • digital technology for bridging intergenerational relationships
  • the political economy of aging the technoscape
  • Digital technology in treating cognitive impairment
  • anti-aging, techno-immortality
  • the use of ethnography in creating aged technoscapes, and the use of technology in ethnographies of aging
  • technoscapes in and of the built environment and age-friendly cities

All submissions should be submitted no later than June 1, 2015.

Carving out a Niche for Anthropology & Aging

Kao Postdoc By Phil Kao, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, Co-Editor of Anthropology & Aging

Anthropology & Aging’s recent move to an open-access platform allows scholars from across a wide range of disciplines to convene and engage with the latest trends taking shape in aging studies and sociocultural anthropology.

Since the halcyon days of anthropology, particularly during the intellectual period where structural functionalism reigned supreme as the go to model for British social anthropology, ethnographers have sought knowledge from informants representing various generations and age grade/sets.  For many, the older members of society provided a unique window through which to investigate tradition, ritual and myth. Godfrey Lienhardt, for example, would not have been able to capture the meaning of life and death, and thus the structure and belief system of the Dinka without tending to the elderly masters of the fishing spear and their (un)timely fates.

Yet, throughout the twentieth century, the focus on aging in anthropology has occupied a relatively small backwater within the discipline.  Ethnographers of all brands, still manage to raise doubts: “If you conduct ‘proper’ fieldwork, and if society and social relations within a community are your target, then issues of aging, the ‘status’ of the elderly (however conceived), and kinship as historical systems should make any focus on aging as a separate treatment redundant. Fair enough, but in the last decades of the twentieth century, the terrain began to shift.  New cultural forms, experiences and communities required novel methodologies and collaborations. Notwithstanding the long and ambivalent relationship between sociology and anthropology in the American academy, ‘classic’ works including Barbara Myerhoff’s ‘Number Our Days’, Jaber F. Gubrium’s ‘Dying at Murray Manor’, and even the earlier publication of Jules Henry’s ‘Culture Against Man’, became touchstones for many anthropologists researching and writing about aging in the western context. After the politics of writing culture and knowledge, anthropologists of/at home have sought refuge and encouragement to think critically about gerontological issues.

With the onset or at least the alarmist reactions surrounding ‘aging societies’  in places like Japan, Germany, and Denmark, anthropologists from around the world have looked to aging as a fruitful window of opportunity to investigate ‘our’ analytical categories, including: kinship, the life course, ritual, sociality and personhood. This perspective brought renewed interest to the study of aging, yet it was still rare for anthropologists to be noticed in the new field of social gerontology where other disciplines had already established themselves. This too, however, is beginning to change. The effects of population aging and generational changes in areas both inside and outside OECD have spawned a sense of urgency to think anthropologically about issues extending beyond the plight of the elderly, encompassing such topics as the local and political economic processes that (re)produce marginality, disability and the ontologies of the social welfare state.

It is within this spirit that Anthropology & Aging wishes to carve out a critical and particular niche. The tide has already begun to turn; a quick query of the latest AAA program offers up a bountiful number of sessions and papers dealing with aging and anthropology around the world.  And the numbers will no doubt keep growing over the foreseeable future.   To give the reader just a broad taste, session topics in this year’s AAA (2014) deal with allostatic load (senescence); the relation between frailty and health in various communities; aging and social demography; care; migration; ontologies of aging; sociality among the elderly; the moral and political components of aging ‘well’; et al.  Internationally speaking, aging studies have garnered particular attention from policy makers and social scientists.  One exciting and culturally resonate theme arising today has to deal with communities of care.  Not only is the United States experimenting with various kinds and brands of long-term care facilities, but societies are innovating new forms of communal arrangements and networks of support for their elderly.  Cities, housing structures, labor economics, and even technoscapes are starting to consider how the elderly can contribute and fit into an environment that is intergenerational and age-friendly.

Although research articles occupy central stage in our journal, submissions from non-anthropologists and submissions in the form of research reports, commentaries, policy, news, and book reviews dealing with both anthropology and aging allow us to create an online intellectual space.  We hope this transforms into a practiced space,  in the spirit of Michel de Certeau, where scholars can participate in producing a polyvalent forum for debate, analyses, and new methodologies and anthropological theories.   Anthropology & Aging, therefore, seeks to collect research on people’s social experiences of and in late life, paying particular attention to cultural forms that emerge as people age, live longer, and create relations of support, meaning and networks in the 21st century.

In the long and short of it, this is an exciting time. Anthropology & Aging’s aim is to support researchers who want to investigate aging in society, not as (yet another) topical sub-section of cultural anthropology, but as an intellectual subject worthy in and of itself; one able to engage not only mainstream anthropology, but also all the other scholars who view aging as a complex process that cannot be broken down into convenient categories or narratives.  We hope this journal offers a space where scholars can venture to float new hypotheses, leaving behind conventional and institutional commitments. Our hearts and minds are out there, like the rest of the world, waiting to be discovered and engaged with.

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