Agnieszka Bielewska's picture
July 9, 2018 to July 10, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Psychology, Social Sciences, Sociology

The world population profile is ageing, with improved social and welfare provision and health care (both state and NGO) and technological, political and cultural changes across authoritarian and democratic societies. The combination of greater longevity and lower fertility is prompting projections that the percentage of older people (over 65) will almost double by 2050. Even before 2020, the number of people over 65 is projected as exceeding the number of children below 5.  This means new challenges for the health care system, the social care system, cultural conceptions of work, education, civic life and public participation, and public finance, pensions and retirement policies. In addition, the comparative pace of ageing is unequal, with ageing populations in Europe, and North America, with youngest populations in Africa and the Middle East. This has implications for global patterns of economic development, wealth and productivity and immigration and diasporic change, where social change becomes not just economic and cultural, but also generational. More, ageing population profiles are more differentiated within societies, and changing social composition and cultural diversity makes an ageing population less easily managed by ‘catch all’ solutions. This signals new challenges in both respecting social, cultural and generational diversity, whilst maintaining social solidarity and cohesion.

In addition to generational population change, the character of aging is changing. No longer are older generations easily characterised as physically and mentally frail, dependent and less capable, progressively passive, unsexual. receivers rather than producers of goods services or creativity, focused on private and family issues and disinterested in public affairs and taking from society rather than contributing. Grey politics, the aesthetic and cultural creativity of older people, older entrepeneurialism and participation and an interest in civic and personal pleasures are making older people less easily confined to private space. The breakdown of these stereotypes has an impact on how older people are seen and catering for by public and private services, how families and communities are composed, and how political will and demands are represented. In this context, in both values, representations and practices, diversity presents challenges for traditional solidarities to change and develop.

This Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network (CDSS) conference seeks to provide a space for those scholars - established or early career, academic or policy/practice-focused - interested in aging and generational questions of solidarity and difference. Papers. posters and panels are sought from both within and across the humanities, social sciences, and other disciplinary boundaries or transdisciplinary approaches, with a view to extending critical and creative analyses of generational changes as they pertain to the balances of cultural difference and social solidarity within and across  borders.   The list of topics include, not exhaustively:

  • Intergenerational solidarity and social, political and cultural strategies - public, private and NGO - to develop solidarity across generations
  • Generational issues in balancing respecting differences and maintaining social cohesion in contemporary societies
  • Policy and practice differences in meeting the needs of older and younger age groups in the society, with attendant problems in policy areas such as health care, social welfare and pensions, labour and retirement regulation, equality legislation and policies against inequality, and civic and public provision
  • The possible choices in new initiatives,  policies and demographic strategies in the management of generational diversity
  • Issues of social solidarity and multi-culturalism in pluralist societies - the challenges of age and fertility differences between migrants, diasporic communities and  established  population,
  • Global questions of age and generational change and economic and development change
  • Ethnic and cultural and institutional and kinship differences in understanding in managing ageing and elderly care
  • Ageing societies, Europe and crisis in the EU – the generational implications of migration and refugee crises (and Brexit/separatisms) .
  • Ageing, generational change, critical pedagogy and the reconception of life-long learning in the life course,

The closing date for abstracts is Friday May 6th 2018. Final acceptance and rejection e-mails will be sent out on Wednesday May 9th.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Agnieszka Bielewska, Faculty of Psychology in Wrocław, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities

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