Tag Archives: care

Don’t miss AALCIG and AAGE events at #AAA2017, Washington D.C.

AAGE, with its partner orgaization the Anthropology of Aging and the Life Course Interest Group (AALCIG) will once again be holding two joint events at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Anthropology in Washington D.C. this year. The meeting will be held at the Wardman Marriot Hotel, November 28- December 3, and the theme is Anthropology Matters! We will be compiliing our annual guide to the meetings (see the 2016 guide here) so if you are an AAGE member and interested in having us advertise your panel or event, contact our AAA liasons Jay Sokolovsky or Maria Cattell. Also, if you want to keep up to date or exchange information to meet up at AAA for lunch or coffee, use our discussion forum HERE.

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Finding community far from home: A student report of #AAGE2017

By Michelle Bentsman

I arrived at the AAGE conference in Oxford unsure of what to expect. I was a few thousand miles from home, standing likewise on foreign intellectual terrain. Despite my involvement in death studies, I am a comparative religion scholar in training, and I have only recently begun immersing myself in anthropology. However, any initial hesitation was quickly replaced by a mounting eagerness to engage with the ideas and conversations that swirled across our swift and brimming two-day schedule.

The first panel I attended featured fascinating work in religious anthropology and aging, providing an ideal bridge through which I stepped into the proceedings. Professor Uchibori Motomitsu of the Open University of Japan discussed the Iban longhouse communities of Malaysia, describing the practice of providing ngibun, care, to the dying. This includes the mundane, which one community member likened to “feeding a corpse,” leading into post-mortem rites conducted in the open corridor of the longhouse. Hom Shrestha of Laurentian University gave an overview of the Nepalese Bura Janko ceremony, through which the elderly are elevated to the status of gods through a series chariot rides into the divine realm. Shrestha emphasized their power to strongly increase the psychosocial well-being of seniors, urging such practices to become more widely integrated into elder-care. These papers pointed to the influence that imaginative and ritual foregrounding can have on end-of-life processes and attitudes, affirming the potential for further inquiry into aging, dying, and religion.

I was in very good company during my panel, playfully dubbed the “death panel.” Iza Kavedzija of the University of Exeter offered a meditation on gratitude in the lives of Japanese elderly, observing that in conversation, expressions of gratitude were often preceded by a space of silence. She concluded by noting that although gratitude points directionally toward the past, it is experienced in the moment, opening affective possibilities in the present. Heekyoung Kim of Seoul National University expanded on the topic of Japanese aging, discussing the methodical preparations for death undertaken by healthy Japanese adults. This, Kim explained, has the effect of transforming death into a necro-social project with a long process, rather than a singular event. Natashe Lemos Dekker of the University of Amsterdam addressed the legal limitations faced by dementia patients seeking euthanasia in the Netherlands, in which euthanasia is understood as a request rather than a right. She left open the question of whether euthanasia is sought out as an act of desperation, or as a way out of desperation. I was grateful for the enthusiastic feedback I received on my paper about the rising role of death doulas in the aging western world. In addition to having the privilege of meeting a formerly practicing death doula among the attendees, I was pushed to further investigate how such services break down across class lines and in different geographic areas.

[scholars] were immensely helpful, sharing their own experiences in the field and encouraging me to pursue my research further

In a panel focused on intergenerational dynamics, Nancy Burke of University of California, Merced, used the awe-inspiring murals of JR and Jose Parla, depicting the elderly upon crumbling facades in Cuba, to convey its changing healthcare system. These images became the backdrop–or in her Bakhtinian parlance, the chronotype–for the comments of elderly Cuban civilians, such as, “we live like slaves and we die like kings,” or, “I can see the doctor whenever I want. But once I get there, he has nothing to give me.” Fayana Richards of Michigan State University described how African American grandmothers, who often took their personal relationship with God very seriously, regarded church as a seed to be transmitted to their grandchildren. For these women, faith could provide a way out of street life by carrying the possibility of change at any moment.

In addition to some very sobering truths, the AAGE had a great deal to give us, the conference-goers. Alongside coffee-breaks, meals, and a very pleasant wine reception, I was treated to genial company and brilliant conversation. I was impressed and heartened by the scholars I spoke to, all of whom were deeply involved with the issues they studied. They were immensely helpful, sharing their own experiences in the field and encouraging me to pursue my research further. The possibility of future collaborations emerged, as well as suggestions for like-minded journals where I might pursue publication. I left with the sense of having tapped into a network of supportive and passionate people that are leveraging theory and community engagement as a means for social change.

Michelle BentsmanMichelle Bentsman is currently an M.Div. candidate at Harvard Divinity School. Her areas of focus include end-of-life care, ideologies of death and dying, and comparative religion, with a particular emphasis on Judaism and Hinduism. She has worked in a north Indian hospice, where she collaborated with doctors, nurses, and volunteers to develop a spiritual care program, as well as served with an NYC Chevra Kadisha (Jewish burial society). She recently co-published an article on embodiment and the unknown in the Performance Research Journal.

How easily does ‘care’ travel? Crossing boundaries at #AAGE2017

By Gina Crivello

Every time I attend an anthropology conference it feels as if I’m returning to a piece of home, having worked for the past fifteen years in the multi-disciplinary field of International Development and during which time I have been just as likely to collaborate with economists as with anthropologists. Concepts like ‘kinship’, ‘culture’, ‘affinity’ and ‘relatedness’ might slide easily off the tongue in an anthropological discussion of care, but I have learned to not take such discussions for granted. Continue reading

What commitments and cares connect generations? #AAGE2017

The 10th Biennial AAGE Conference, “Culture, Commitment and Care across the Life Course” brought together over 100 participants from 15 different countries for two days of research presentations, workshops, and keynote lectures. We opened on June 8th, as UK citizens were voting in a snap election that would proclaim their commitment to education, social care, housing security and tolerance. Whereas the Brexit vote one year earlier seemed to push generations and their values further apart, the results of the snap election showed a broader support for the Labour Party across age groups, and perhaps a rejection of the kind of misguided policies that would take school lunches from children and issue a #dementiatax on the old.

So there couldn’t be a better time to talk about the ways our commitments to values and aspirations are linked to our experience of generation and the life course.

For the first ever AAGE conference to be held in Europe, this enthusiastic turnout exceeded my expectations, and I was thrilled to meet so many students and scholars for the first time. I was so impressed, in fact, that I quickly put together a proposal to establish a new research network of the European Association of Social Anthropology so that we could continue to stay in touch and hold conferences even when AAGE’s Biennial moves back across the pond.

One of the keys to the success was our partnership with ACYIG, represented by my unflappable co-organizer Patrick Alexander. ACYIG has been a fantastic supporter of AAGE through the Collaborative Research Network on the Life Course. Through the CRN, we’ve organized a blog exchange and organized panels for #AAA2017 focused on how age is situated within the life course. One of the classic anthropological works on culture and the life course is Mead’s ‘Culture and Commitment’, and when Mead’s daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson agreed to fly over as a keynote speaker, it felt like we really had a conference worth shouting about.

And you heard. While I can’t possibly summarize all 16 panels (73 papers!) presented, as you can imagine, there were several on inter-generational relationships, kinship and community and many more on the ways global and local politics of care bring youth and age into closer affinity. The life-course perspective meant grappling with the ways personal and historical change intersect, how mobility, precarity and hopes might be shaped by generational patterns as well as changes in life-course trajectories. Alone, telling such a complex story would be formidable, but together, I could see how each of the conference presenters contributed some unique piece of the puzzle.

Apart from the papers, the conference included a workshop on ageing in Sub-Saharan Africa by Jaco Hoffman of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and another on research on children and development by Young Lives. These workshops were mainly aimed at presenting outward facing research aimed at contributing to public policy. Nearly half of the presenters at the conference were PhD students or recent graduates, and these workshops helped them consider the ways our research can have impact and the kinds of opportunities that are available outside of academia.

AAGE President Jason Danely introducing Mary Catherine Bateson on Day 1

Finally, we were treated to two wonderful keynote presentations, both of which drew out the fundamental importance of inter-generational life-course interactions. Mary Catherine Bateson spoke of the importance of learning from each other and the joys of being depending on each other at every age. She spoke of how infants and children teach adults how to be better carers, and how older adults can offer perspectives to the young. Pia Christensen told stories of ‘wonder’ that arise when we listen and pay attention to the worlds of children. I felt that much of what she said could easily be applied to our thinking about old age as well, and how aging societies might provide new chances for reflecting on the values and commitments that are most important to our shared future.

ACYIG Board Member Patrick Alexander introduces Pia Christensen on Day 2

What’s next?

Over the last 20 years, anthropology of aging and of youth has produced an impressive body of research that recognizes the agency and influence that people of all ages have on culture and society. As ethnographers who strive to bring a more holistic perspective of human relationships to our work, it seems that the next step is to try to understand the life course inter-generational interactions. What kinds of care are given or received across the life course? Are there commitments that cross generations? What do different ages bring to our understanding of the role of commitment in social and political change?

These are questions that can’t easily be solved by looking at only a narrow slice of the life course or one demographic group within a multi-generational society. The connections made at AAGE 2017 between the themes and ideas of presenters doing work at different ends of the life course presented an exciting challenge, both intellectually and empirically, and I hope AAGE and ACYIG will continue to work together in the future to strengthen our common interest in the life course. With the establishment of a formal network within the European Association of Social Anthropology (coming soon!) and organized panels ready for AAA 2017, we hope to keep up the momentum started in Oxford.

Thank you again to everyone who made the conference a success and to all of the presenters and chairs. I encourage all of you stay in contact with people you met at AAGE2017 and stay tuned for AAGE2019!

Time and bodies in grandparenthood

Physical exercises as part of an NGO health programme to build older people's strength and independence in Kagera Region Tanzania (Photograph by author. Please do not reproduce without permission)

Physical exercises as part of an NGO health programme to build older people’s strength and independence in Kagera Region Tanzania (Photograph by author. Please do not reproduce without permission)

After more than a decade of following how the lives of grandparents and grandchildren – two different generations- in northwest Tanzania have unfolded, it is increasingly exciting to think with the concepts of time and the body. How does time play out in relations with grandchildren as they gradually grow up from toddlers to young children to adolescents and young adults? What is ‘grandparenthood’ about in these different life-stages?

Time has long been at the centre of intergenerational analysis in anthropology. We look at historical time in the Mannheimian sense: the particular era in which a set of people are born; or demographic time: household cycles over time. In ‘Lifetimes intertwined’(Whyte, Alber and Geissler 2004), a special issue of ‘Africa’ on grandparents and grandchildren, several scholars engaged with new approaches to kinship, based on time as lived with others, analysing how broader societal transformations play into this relation. At the same time, Julie Livingston reminds us of another ‘temporal perspective:  experiences of aging are explicitly ‘bio-social: not only situated in cultural realms but are also about the changing body and its local biology. Separately each of these perspectives provides a specific view on generations and experiences of aging. But what would happen if we bring these perspectives together?

I am currently exploring these questions through the write-up of fieldwork conducted in northwest Tanzania (de Klerk in preparation), reading through stories and interviews. One of them that I would like to share is Consolatha’s:

‘These are my children, they came to see the visitor (me), One is ailing, he is 61 and the other is 68. They are the children I still have, I lost seven children. I raised my grandchildren, eight of them. Three have left me [to start their own lives], but five of them also died. I was about 11 in the time of Chief Ruhinda (who died in 1936), I do not know my age. I lived a long life but a life full of grief. My children died in a short time of each other. The graves are there [she points to the land adjacent to the house where the dead are buried to ensure generational continuity]. We could not even finish one year and then someone had already died again. We had a big shamba [land], but I sold so many parts of it to take care of them. [..]. I remain with three grandchildren but they are not living here, they have left. One is learning to be a driver, in Bukoba, the other one is married and the third one is in Mwanza. They left recently and I do not know if they will assist me. I am now living with the son of my son over there and with the son of the child of my daughter over there. They stay for company. I also have a granddaughter. She is not really my granddaughter, we begged her from neighbours, she helps in cooking, water and washing clothes. My strength has gone because of my worries. But I was still strong when I was raising my grandchildren, I gave them food, took out the jiggers [chigoe flees], and I beat them if they did wrong. If you compare small grandchildren and big grandchildren there is a difference. The small ones, they really are a problem, they cry when they want food and are dirty all the time. Big grandchildren don’t do so. You have times when they refuse if you ask them to fetch firewood through.

The narrative of Consolatha, elicited through several questions around growing up and growing old with grandchildren, beautifully evoked the notion of time together as shared. In the rural area where I work, grandparents have always lived with grandchildren, and grandparenthood forms an intricate part of experiences of old age. As the ever changing nature of Consolatha’s household composition shows, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren move in and out at different life stages. But grandparenthood has also been transformed. Increasing numbers of grandchildren grow up with their grandparents as main providers, for reasons including – but not only pertaining to – the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Shared time is about the making of ‘relatedness through living together’. Consolatha’s story shows how the process of physical aging brings a dimension of physicality to these experiences of shared time. At different moments in the life course Consolatha reflects on her aging body and strength: physical strength is needed to provide food to hungry children, and wash them, but also to discipline adolescent children. In advanced old age her declining strength makes her reflect on the absence of specific grandchildren and the presence of others who do provide care, but also show us how the aging body is being reconceptualised at a particular historical moment of time.

This jumble of transformations and transitions (to borrow from Danely and Lynch) show how a focus on time and the body complicates our thinking about intergenerational relations and the ‘qualities’ of care throughout the life course. Not only do we need to look at how intergenerational relations and the conflict and closeness within them are being shaped at particular moments in time but also at how these intergenerational relations itself change through time in the process of growing up and growing old together.


Works cited:

Danely, J. and C. Lynch eds (2013) Transitions and Transformations: Cultural Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course. New York: Berghahn Books.

De Klerk, J. Growing up and growing old together. Time and the joined life-course in northwest Tanzania (in preparation)

Whyte, S., E. Alber, W. Geissler (2004).Lifetimes intertwined: African Grandparents and Grandchildren. Africa 74(1): 1-5.

Josien de Klerk is a lecturer at Leiden University College, The Hague. She works on aging in the era of AIDS in Kenya and Tanzania, looking at informal care and self-care in the context of HIV. Her fieldwork is the basis of critical analysis of the politics around aging and care in the treatment-dominated AIDS landscape in East-Africa.


Read the companion to this post, The Importance of ‘Blood,’ Identity, and Intergenerational Relationships over the Life Course of Ugandan Children Orphaned by AIDS, by Kristen Cheney



Return to the Life Course CRN blog exchange

PAAGE: Discussion Piece #3 – The Future of Technology in Care

In the media, robots are sensationalized as the future of senior care. Research and development in this area receive a lot of funding and public interest. During the nearly two years I spent researching in Japan, a nation celebrated for being at the cutting edge of high-tech senior care, I saw a number of technical innovations in the research labs of aging studies specialists as they worked to design devices that would improve or maintain the physical and mental functioning of seniors. But as yet the actual use of these innovations inside the home, care facility, and hospital have remained relatively minimal. The commercial cost of advanced technologies for rehabilitative, preventive, and assistive purposes is one factor inhibiting its successes. Another – they are too complicated and too demanding for care workers and seniors to operate and maintain.

There is a palpable divide between the ready incorporation of technologies that require a high degree of user-engagement and those that require relatively little. Enter into almost any senior hospital or nursing home in Japan and you will find an assortment of passive technologies ranging from sensors in the beds, on the floors, and at the doors poised to notify personnel when and if a client or patient is on the move. Visit a day care center in Japan and you will find a single function device that comes ready-loaded with music and videos for senior exercise and entertainment (this means Karaoke). You will also find washrooms outfitted with automated bathtubs that require you only to load the client into the wheelchair bay and it moves them into a resting position to begin jet propulsion washing. In Japan’s rehabilitation centers there are a variety of exercise machines available that are particularly designed for subtle weight increases and safe movements sensitive to the prone body of older adults. All of these innovations are assistive, rehabilitative, and preventive technologies, but they are also all passive technologies that require straightforward user engagement (turn on and it assumes its rather singular function).


Day care center's automated bath for wheelchair bound seniors.

Day care center’s automated bath for wheelchair bound seniors.

But what of these purported cutting edge technologies we hear so much about: Paro the robot seal, the future companion for socially isolated seniors; Or supplementary caregiver robots like Robear that can lift bedridden seniors? Some have passed beyond research and development and are commercially available, but few will be found in your typical home, day care, hospital, or nursing home. I have only ever seen a robot seal in the closet of a day care facility where it was banished after it broke down too many times and it was clear that the senior clientele was avoiding it anyways.

Robear lifting someone from the bed as the care worker looks on (source: http://bit.ly/1A1Ippz).

Robear lifting someone from the bed as the care worker looks on (source: http://bit.ly/1A1Ippz).

Continuing to pursue and perfect robots and other advanced technological devices for use in prevention, rehabilitation, and care is of course important. The media has already announced that the future of care is digitized and robotized, the next step is to get it out of the research lab and further streamline these complex technological functions to make them user friendly and intuitive for both care givers and possibly mentally and physically disabled clients. But as I have tried to call attention to here, there is a whole cadre of technologies used in care, rehabilitation, and prevention that have passed under the media radar – automated baths, bed and floor sensors, and GPS tracking. While less sensational than a robot parading around the home or hospital, these innovations have been equally if not more successful in alleviating the burdens of care and enhancing the lives of older adults because they have already been successfully integrated into senior care.

I have been referring to these technologies as passive, perhaps a better term would be semi-independent insofar as little additional care is required to maintain or utilize them. “Low-tech” devices (a name which I disapprove of, but will use for clarity’s sake), such as canes, walkers, hearing aids, and handrails, can also be considered individualized and semi-independent technologies; no engineer is required to oversee and regulate its use and maintenance work is minimal. It seems to me that if technology is to be the future of care, then forming specialized devices that can seamlessly integrate into already existing care environments without requiring excessive user-engagement for continued programming and maintenance is of the utmost importance. This means R&D projects related to smart homes and other smart technologies (celebrated for their independent functioning and seamless integration into daily life), will be seen inside homes, day care centers, and nursing homes well before robot caregivers…unless you are looking in the closets.

Ender Ricart

Anthropology & Aging Vol.36 no.1


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!

AAGE guide to the meetings: American Anthropological Association, Dec 3-7, 2014

Every five years or so, the AAA meetings fall a little later in the year, making us wish the meetings were some place warm (remember New Orleans 2010?) rather than a city with an average December HIGH of about 47F degrees (remember Philadelphia 2009?).

Nonetheless, it is sure to be a good turnout this year, with hundreds of sessions, posters, exhibitors, installations (including the always thought provoking Ethnographic Terminalia), and a keynote speech by Bruno Latour.

If you are a member of AAGE or the AAA on Anthropology of Aging and the Life Course Interest Group , the first things to put on your itinerary are the Interlocutor Session, the Interest Group business meeting, and the dinner.

Dec 5 (Friday) 1:00-2:15PM, Wilson A Marriot Wardman Park

Interlocutor event with Mary Catherine Bateson about “Adulthood 2.0” and reception for recent book authors (Bianca Brijnath, Jason Danely and others). While an accomplished writer and educator, Mary Catherine Bateson is perhaps best known for her work on aging, including Composing a Life (1989) and Composing a Further Life (2010). In the latter, Bateson (who turns 75 on December 8 of this year), takes up the challenge of adapting the psychosocial life course development theories to current realities of longevity and diverse trajectories, proposing a new stage in life that she calls “Adulthood 2.0.”

Jay Sokolovsky organized the event and he and Athena McLean will be asking her about this and her other work on aging and anthropology.

 Dec 6 (Saturday) 1:00-2:15, Wilson A, Marriot Wardman Park

AAGE/AAA Interest Group Business meeting

Learn about what the group is up to, raise your voice and get involved in decisions and new projects (including contributing to the website!). This group relies on a lot of individuals, and we invite anyone (members or not) to attend and get to know us!

 Dec 6 (evening) – AAGE/Interest Group dinner (8PM, location and details  TBA)

PrintNow for the panels
I did a quick search for relevant terms and topics (aging is still not a key word for the AAA program), then I solicited responses via the Facebook page, and listserv.  If I did not list your panel, and you would like to advertise it here, I highly encourage you to write a comment below. In the interest of space, I will not include full abstracts, but I will list date, time, location, and titles/presenters. If you are a AAA member, you can login and use the links to add these panels to your personal scheduler.

Wednesday, December 3

12-1:45pm, Thurgood Marshall North


This workshop, co-chaired by AAGE member Mark Luborsky (Wayne State) and Linda Hunt (MSU) is bound to be full of practical information from anthropologists with a track record or NIH funding.

Thursday, December 4

2:30-4:15pm, McKinley


Chair: Elana D Buch, University of Iowa
Organizer: Jason A Danely, Oxford Brookes University, and Elana D Buch, University of Iowa
Discussant: Paul E Brodwin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Circulating Compassion: Claims of Deservingness Among Chicago Home Care Workers- Elana D Buch, University of Iowa

Compassion in Action?: Love, Pity, and Distraction in Thai Buddhist Eldercare- Felicity Aulino, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Practicing Compassion: Worthy Suffering Among Older Persons in the Netherlands- Jolanda Lindenberg, Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing

Compassionate Subjectivity: Producing and Managing Ethics and Affects of Family Caregivers of Older Adults in Japan– Jason A Danely, Oxford Brookes University

This panel was the result of discussions Elana and I had about the concept of “compassion” as it has been used in clinical and social care settings and the need to understand and practiced differently in different cultural contexts. While I was at first interested mostly in how Japanese Buddhists practiced compassion in secular contexts, Elana was suggested that we needed to pay attention to political contexts, including the role of anthropologist as a potential producer of compassion. This is also the first of many panels about “care,” some organized by AAGE members as well, but I did not list all of them here if they did not relate to aging or the life course (for example, 2-04060 TEMPORALITIES OF CARE; THE LABOR OF CARE  )

6:30-8:15PM Suite C


Chair: Ender Ricart, University of Chicago

Emerging Ontology of the Aging Society Crisis in Japan: Differentiation of Care and Prevention and the Re-Figuration of the Aging Process, Old Age, Sociality, and Life-Worlds– Ender Ricart, Univ. Chicago

Friday, December 5

2:30-4:15 PM


3-3:15 PM   Policy “Trickling up”: Hurricane Preparedness Policy for People with Alzheimer’s Disease or a Related Dementia –Janelle J. Christensen, Palm Beach State College

Saturday, December 6

9:00-10:45am Jackson


Organizers: Sarah E Lamb, Brandeis, Jessica C Robbins-Ruszkowski, Wayne State U
Discussant: Susan R Whyte, Institute of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

Ageless Aging or Meaningful Decline?: A Critical Anthropology of “Successful Aging”– Sarah E Lamb (Brandeis)

A Model of “Success”: Aging in a Catholic Convent– Anna I. Corwin (University of California, Los Angeles – Dept of Anthropology)

Stratification and Heterogeneity of Successful Aging Constructs in Thailand and USA– Mark R Luborsky (Wayne State University) Chulanee Thianthai (Chulalongkorn University)

Education, English, and Embroidery: The Sociality of Aging in Poland– Jessica C Robbins-Ruszkowski (Wayne State University)

Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot: Friendship in the Face of Dementia– Janelle S Taylor (University Washington)

Deja vu? Nope, this was the panel that was so good, it was worth doing twice (see the guides to the GSA). Obviously something worth paying attention to is in the works here. This time Janelle Taylor, who has been doing more and more work in medical anthropology and dementia joins Sarah Lamb and the others.

11-12:45PM, Wilson A


Chair: Cheryl Mattingly, University of Southern California
Organizer: Bjarke Oxlund, University of Copenhagen and Lotte Meinert, Aarhus University
Discussants: Julie Livingston, Rutgers University and Ayo Wahlberg, University of Copenhagen

The organizer, Bjarke Oxlund is a member of the Anthropology & Aging editorial advisory board and a longtime AAGE member. Julie Livingston was part of the interlocutor session at a previous AAA. The panel (along with part ONE) is packed with big names who take generations seriously.

11-11:30 AM Jackson


From Cure to Care: Becoming Old and Diabetic in Tanzania– Peter M Van Eeuwijk, University of Basel

Combating Ageism in the Tanzanian Health System: From Painful Exclusion to Social Participation-Brigit Obrist van Eeuwijk, University of Basel

Die Suddenly or Die Knowing Her/His Remaining Lifetime: What Is Imagined As Good Death in Contemporary Japan– Hideaki Matsuoka, Osaka University

The Good Life at the End of Life: the Ideal End-of-Life for South Korean Elders Living in Toronto, Canada– Christine Moon, Brown University

Social and Material Entanglements in Institutional Long-Term Care: The Making and Unmaking of Personhood in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias– Jayne M Yatczak, Wayne State University

So if you went to the “Successful Aging” panel, stay in the room for this one on end-of-life care! A nice variety of approaches and regions represented here.

2:30- 4:15 PM, Wilson A


Chair: Chloe Silverman, Drexel University
Organizer: A. Elizabeth DeLuca, University of California Irvine, and Aaron T Seaman, University of Chicago
Discussant: Janelle S Taylor, University Washington

Giving Care?: Exploring the Analytic of Care through an Examination of the “Caregiver” – Aaron T Seaman, University of Chicago

Care, Risk, and Haunted Subjectivities- Matthew Furlong, University of Chicago

Honeybee Health, Uncertain Illnesses, and Medical Care– Chloe Silverman, Drexel University

Affective Labor and the Limits of Care: Reflections on Caretaking, Abuse and Intersubjectivity-Elizabeth DeLuca, University of California Irvine

Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Theorizing Accountability in Care Under Globalization and Neoliberalism– Athena McLean, Central Michigan University/ Andrea P Sankar, Wayne State University

Yes, there is more to say about care!! While Athena, Andrea, and Chloe have been working on issues of care and culture in medical contexts for a while, organizers Elizabeth and Aaron, and Matthew Furlong are graduate students doing some really exciting work. This is bound to be a very stimulating panel.


2:30 PM – 4:15 PM, Marriott Ballroom Salon 3- White

GENERAL POSTER SESSION: Body Image and Menopause: The Objective and Subjective Story

Lynn Morrison, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Daniel E. Brown, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Lynnette Leidy Sievert, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Angela Reza, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Nichole Rahberg, University of Hawaii at Manoa

2:30- 4:15 PM, Roosevelt Room 2


Chairs: Devin Flaherty, University of California, Los Angeles, Emily Anne Lucitt, University of California, Los Angeles – Dept of Anthropology
Organizers: Devin Flaherty, University of California, Los Angeles, Emily Anne Lucitt, University of California, Los Angeles – Dept of Anthropology

Discussant: Cheryl Mattingly, University of Southern California

Imagining and Caregiving:Hospice in Two “American” Cultures– Devin Flaherty, University of California, Los Angeles

Sunday, December 6

10- 11:45 AM, Thurgood Marshall West


Chair: Bjarke Oxlund, University of Copenhagen
Organizers: Monika Palmberger, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Azra Hromadzic, Syracuse University
Discussant: Michele R Gamburd, Portland State University

Migrants of Privilege: American Retirees and the Imaginaries of Ecuadorian Care Work– Ann Miles, Western Michigan University

Late Life Choices: Feelings of Ambivalence Among Aging Labour Immigrants– Monika Palmberger, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

“Where Were They until Now?” Aging, Care and Abandonment in a Bosnian Town- Azra Hromadzic, Syracuse University

Where Home Is Not the Same: Emerging Notions of Reciprocity, Dependency, and Concepts of Person/Self in Tuareg Intergenerational Experiences of Migration- Susan J Rasmussen, University of Houston

Who Cares? Ageing, Transnational Care Arrangements and the Question of Morality- Yvon Van Der Pijl, Utrecht University

“I Do Not Expect to Become frail” – Transnational Aging Experiences from a Civil Servants Milieu of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania– Andrea Patricia Grolimund, University of Basel

Of the four AAGE heavy panels (Producing Compassion; Successful Aging; Aging, Elders and End-of-Life; and this one), aging and migration has the most explicit focus on the aging experience in the developing and impoverished world. This is not “retirement migration,” it is concerned, in the words of the abstract, with “transnational responsibility; competing ideas of personhood; morality and “good aging;” social security; and economies of care as they materialize in these diverse yet converging contexts of aging, migration and care.”

12- 1:45 PM, Thurgood Marshall South


12:45 PM

Senescence, Aging, and Allostatic Load in Sakiyama, Japan– Rachael Elizabeth Leahy, The Ohio State University; Douglas E. Crews, The Ohio State University; Yoshiaki Sone, Mimasaka University; Aiko Iwamoto, Osaka City University; Yosuke Kusano, Nagasaki Wesleyan University; Takahiro Maeda, Nagasaki University; Kiyoshi Aoyagi, Nagasaki University

Last, but not least, a bio-cultural life course perspective!

See you in DC!


(if we missed your panel, leave us a comment below!)

New Book: UNFORGOTTEN Love and the Culture of Dementia Care in India Bianca Brijnath

UNFORGOTTEN: Love and the Culture of Dementia Care in IndiaBrijnathUnforgotten
Bianca Brijnath

Announcing Volume 2, Life Course, Culture and Aging: Global Transformations series edited by Jay Sokolovsky in cooperation with AAGE. Bianca Brijnath’s first book, “Unforgotten: Love and Culture of Dementia Care in India” is due for release in July 2014. Here is what readers are saying:

This is a superb study, one of the most exciting, original, perceptive and engrossing books I have read in India studies and aging studies in some time…One of the most attractive features of it is its eloquent, often poetic, writing style that draws the reader in from the first pages through to the end.”  ·  Sarah Lamb, Brandeis University

“…a deeply humane account of the disparate experiences of middle class Indian families in Delhi–in their homes, public spaces and medical facilities–as they care for older family members with dementia. The gender, class and health inequities of daily life and the cultural ideal of seva (respect and service to family elders) resonate through these experiences of hope and despair, love and frustration, stigma and silence.”  ·  Maria G. Cattell, The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

As life expectancy increases in India, the number of people living with dementia will also rise. Yet little is known about how people in India cope with dementia, how relationships and identities change through illness and loss. In addressing this question, this book offers a rich ethnographic account of how middle-class families in urban India care for their relatives with dementia. From the husband who wakes up at 3 am to feed his wife ice-cream to the daughters who gave up employment for seven years to care for their mother with dementia, this book illuminates the local idioms on dementia and aging, the personal experience of care-giving, the functioning of stigma in daily life, and the social and cultural barriers in accessing support.

Bianca Brijnath is a NHMRC Early Career Fellow in the Department of General Practice, Monash University, Australia. She is a researcher in medical anthropology, public health and primary health care. Her areas of interest include cross-cultural meanings of mental health and care and her field sites include India and Australia. This is her first book.



Chapter 1. Methods and Character Building
Chapter 2. The Diagnostic Process
Chapter 3. Therapeutics and Health Seeking
Chapter 4. The Economies of Care
Chapter 5. Alzheimer’s and the Indian Appetite
Chapter 6. Stigma and Loneliness in Care
Chapter 7. The Journey to Silence

Conclusion: ‘This is the Time for Romance’

Purchase this book here: http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title.php?rowtag=BrijnathUnforgotten

The Familial Dyad between Aged Patients and Filipina Caregivers in Israel

Anthropology & Aging Quarterly Volume 34, issue 3 (September 2013) pp.126-134

The Familial Dyad between Aged Patients and Filipina Caregivers in Israel:
Eldercare, Bodily-based Practices, and the Jewish Family

Keren Mazuz

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Download full PDF here: AAQ34(3)MAZUZ


As the population in the US ages, there is increasing need to study aging In this article I describe a familial dyad between the Filipina caregiver and the Israeli aged patient. I argue that a familial dyad emerges based on bodily forms of care. This familial dyad becomes a mechanism for adaptation to and enduring of the daily and intimate encounter of a foreign caregiver and an aged dying patient. The familial dyad provides insight into the phenomenology of the care experience as a function for re-conceptualizing social relations and intra-family dynamics. This will broaden our understanding of the possible varieties of bodily-based practices and their relational repercussions as interpersonal care engagements. The form of a familial dyad underscores the dynamism and complexity of care practices as intersubjective and corporeal modes through which one body engages the other. These care practices which are based on repetitive physical actions allow immediate first-person access to the other participants’ subjective state. Thus, in an era of globalized care, the familial dyad takes form and shape at the most intimate juncture between the subjects, their corporeal and interpersonal being.

Keywords: Israel, bodily-based practices, eldercare, Filipina caregivers, empathy, family, dyad, work migration, Jewish home, phenomenology of care