Special Issue "Ageing as a Unique Experience: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ageing and Later Life from Social and Humanities Perspectives"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ieva Stončikaitė
E-Mail Website
Chief Guest Editor
Group Dedal-Lit, University of Lleida, 25003 Lleida, Spain
Interests: cultural gerontology; senior tourism and leisure; social innovation related to active and healthy ageing research
Dr. Lucie Vidovićová
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Žerotínovo nám. 617/9, 601 77 Brno, Czech Republic
Interests: sociology of aging; social gerontology; gerontology; sociology of age; sociology of the family; sociology of the labor market

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ageing is a diverse and multifaceted experience that is unique to each person. The process of ageing is lived differently according to each individual’s socio-cultural, historical, and political context, among other factors. However, the stereotype of homogeneity is still one of the strongest aspects related to later life. This Special Issue invites manuscripts of original research to critically explore the experience of old age and the process of growing old from the social sciences and/or humanities perspectives. It opens space for topics related to social gerontology, social anthropology, age and gender studies, body politics, sexuality, active and healthy ageing, cultural and literary gerontology, and other related disciplines. This call seeks to collect arguments that show the variables and uniqueness of later life, and we welcome contributions that expand on the current theoretical frameworks in the field of age studies overall. The overall aim of this Special Issue—“Ageing as a Unique Experience: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ageing and Later Life from Socio-cultural and Humanities Perspectives”—is to offer a collection of articles that can broaden the scholarship and develop critical thought of old age and the life course to contribute to the current and future dialogue on the unique experiences of ageing.

Dr. Ieva Stončikaitė
Dr. Lucie Vidovićová
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Aging in Place with Age-Related Cognitive Changes: The Impact of Caregiving Support and Finances
Societies 2021, 11(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc11020031 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 349
Abstract
In the United States, aging in place is a common concept that refers to older adults’ desire to remain in their homes as they age. However, this ability to age in place is a complex process that is not only impacted by the [...] Read more.
In the United States, aging in place is a common concept that refers to older adults’ desire to remain in their homes as they age. However, this ability to age in place is a complex process that is not only impacted by the home’s accessibility or individual functional abilities. This paper aims to examine different factors, such as home environment and home modification, caregivers, finances, and other supports present in the participants’ lives, that impact older adults with age-related cognitive changes (ARCC) (in)ability to age in place. Qualitative interviews with older adults with ARCC (n = 5) and their caregivers (n = 5) were conducted. The participants’ experiences while aging in place indicate that finances and caregiving support greatly impacted their lives at home and ability to age in place. Personal finances dictated where some of the participants could age and the support, they could afford from home health aides. Additionally, informal and formal caregivers were an important source of support that aided in the older adults’ ability to remain home. As researchers, we need to continue to address personal finances and the support that the individual has in their lives to most effectively promote aging in place and their life at home. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Representation and Agency of Aging Superheroes in Popular Culture and Contemporary Society
Societies 2021, 11(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc11010018 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 531
Abstract
The figure of the superhero has always been regarded as an iconic representative of American society. Since the birth of the first superhero, it has been shaped by the most important historical, political, and social events, which were echoed in different comic issues. [...] Read more.
The figure of the superhero has always been regarded as an iconic representative of American society. Since the birth of the first superhero, it has been shaped by the most important historical, political, and social events, which were echoed in different comic issues. In principle, in the superhero genre, there has never been a place for aging superheroes, for they stand as a symbol of power and protection for the nation. Indeed, their mythical portrayal of young and strong broad-chested men with superpowers cannot be shattered showing them fragile or disabled. The aim of this article is to delve into the complex paradigm of the passage of time in comics and to analyze one of the most famous superheroes of all times, Superman, in terms of his archetypical representation across time. From the perspective of cultural and literary gerontology, the different issues of Action Comics will be examined, as well as an alternative graphic novel Kingdom Come (2008) by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, where Superman appears as an aged man. Although it breaks the standards of the genre, in the end it does not succeed to challenge the many stereotypes embedded in society in regard to aging, associated with physical, cognitive, and emotional decline. Furthermore, this article will show how a symbolic use of the monomythical representation of a superhero may penetrate into other cultural expressions to instill a more positive and realistic portrayal of aging. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Fourth Ageism: Real and Imaginary Old Age
Societies 2021, 11(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc11010012 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 979
Abstract
This paper is concerned with the issue of ageism and its salience in current debates about the COVID-19 pandemic. In it, we address the question of how best to interpret the impact that the pandemic has had on the older population. While many [...] Read more.
This paper is concerned with the issue of ageism and its salience in current debates about the COVID-19 pandemic. In it, we address the question of how best to interpret the impact that the pandemic has had on the older population. While many feel angry at what they see as discriminatory lock-down practices confining older people to their homes, others are equally concerned by the failure of state responses to protect and preserve the health of older people, especially those receiving long-term care. This contrast in framing ageist responses to the pandemic, we suggest, arises from differing social representations of later life, reflecting the selective foregrounding of third versus fourth age imaginaries. Recognising the tension between social and biological parameters of ageing and its social categorisations, we suggest, may offer a more measured, as well as a less discriminatory, approach to addressing the selective use of chronological age as a line of demarcation within society. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Moving from the Margins: Towards an Inclusive Urban Representation of Older People in Zimbabwe’s Policy Discourse
Societies 2021, 11(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc11010007 - 21 Jan 2021
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Population ageing has become a major global demographic shift but perhaps less noticeable in the Global South. Zimbabwe, like many African countries, is experiencing and will continue to witness an increase in older age, hence questioning its readiness to handle such change. Ageing [...] Read more.
Population ageing has become a major global demographic shift but perhaps less noticeable in the Global South. Zimbabwe, like many African countries, is experiencing and will continue to witness an increase in older age, hence questioning its readiness to handle such change. Ageing in Zimbabwe is currently occurring in the context of increasing poverty, political unrest, changing family structures, and weakening infrastructures. Despite this, Zimbabwe is committed to promoting change and betterment for its citizens through adherence to international agendas and national development strategies. However, the first step towards the realisation of an inclusive urban environment begins with a fair representation of the various actors and social groups. This review paper is aimed at examining the representation of Zimbabwe’s older people, a subject that has rarely been the focus of critical analysis, concentrating on the political discourse in urban development programmes. A sample of 45 international and national policy documents published post-2002, was carefully selected and inspected to determine the level of presence of older people using discourse analysis. The findings reveal that in the context of the efforts made towards a Zimbabwe that is inclusive of all citizens, the idea of older persons as subjects of rights and active participants has yet to truly gain sufficient currency. There is a dominance of a one-dimensional perspective across the majority of the publications, with older people constructed as “dependent”, “vulnerable” and “passive”, overseeing vital contributions to society. A realistic and more empowering representation of this social group, showing them as active caregivers rather than passive recipients is therefore a necessity if Zimbabwe is to fulfil its vision of inclusivity. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
What Role Does Rural Place Play in the Lives of Mid-Life Women in Sweden and Ireland?
Societies 2020, 10(4), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10040084 - 06 Nov 2020
Viewed by 574
Abstract
Rural place is a significant influencer of the ageing and states of well-being experienced by older women. This paper extends existing knowledge on gendered rural place by examining its influence on mid-life (45–65 years) women in rural Sweden and rural Ireland. This paper [...] Read more.
Rural place is a significant influencer of the ageing and states of well-being experienced by older women. This paper extends existing knowledge on gendered rural place by examining its influence on mid-life (45–65 years) women in rural Sweden and rural Ireland. This paper also examines rural place identity, self-identity and the enhancement of the self, and the multiple pathways to place attachment at mid-life. Qualitative data were gathered in 2019 from ten women living in Sweden’s rural Värmland region, and in 2012–2013 from 25 women living in Ireland’s rural Connemara region. Adopting a social constructionist approach within a lifecourse framework, methodology was informed by constructivist grounded theory, using one-to-one semi-structured interviews. These distinct studies show both similarity and difference in rural place identity and self-identity among mid-life women, and highlight nuances around place attachment, the home, social relationships, and the natural environment. The data show a compelling need for a greater consideration of the critical and diverse role rural place plays in shaping women’s experiences of ageing and well-being both at mid-life and in older age. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Retirement Rhythms: Retirees’ Management of Time and Activities in Denmark
Societies 2020, 10(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030068 - 16 Sep 2020
Viewed by 784
Abstract
We scrutinize how the everyday lives of well-educated and healthy Danish retirees are structured and experienced and study how they organise their days and weeks. Our aim is to investigate how retirees manage and organise time and the ways these relate to societal [...] Read more.
We scrutinize how the everyday lives of well-educated and healthy Danish retirees are structured and experienced and study how they organise their days and weeks. Our aim is to investigate how retirees manage and organise time and the ways these relate to societal rhythms in order to contribute to theories of retirement and social gerontology. We have combined qualitative (individual interviews, focus group interviews, design games, and drawings) and quantitative (activity monitoring, sleep quality, and health markers) data from 13 participants over the age of 65 years, who are research participants in a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Our interdisciplinary dataset allows us to analyse and compare subjective experiences of everyday activities with objective measures of daily activities. The older adults lead busy lives with many diverse activities and use these to structure their everyday lives in ways resembling the rhythms of the labour market with organised and busy mornings and loose afternoons and evenings. We discuss how our findings relate to continuity theory and suggest that Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis allows us to study the retirement rhythms of older adults as part of both biological, social, and societal rhythms. This has practical as well as conceptual implications. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Creative Writing Workshop on Sexuality and Ageing: A Spanish Pilot Case Study
Societies 2020, 10(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10030057 - 26 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1351
Abstract
Negative stereotypes about old age abound in our present-day society, which often considers older people as sexually incapable or even asexual. On the other hand, active ageing ideologies foster the practice of sex in later life as a sign of healthy and active [...] Read more.
Negative stereotypes about old age abound in our present-day society, which often considers older people as sexually incapable or even asexual. On the other hand, active ageing ideologies foster the practice of sex in later life as a sign of healthy and active ageing. The aim of this pilot case study was to examine the impact that poetry on sexuality, ageing and creativity had on older individuals. In total eight participants, aged 49–76, participated in a workshop offered by the University of Lleida (Spain). The initial hypothesis was that the participants, following the example set by the poems, would produce pieces of creative writing in which they voiced their own concerns and experiences about sexuality in later life from the distance that metaphor grants. While some of the participants’ writings engaged with the poems that deal with sexuality in older age, none of the participants’ creative pieces contained explicit instances of sexual experiences. The analysis of the participants’ creative pieces suggests that: first, they regard intimacy in older age as essential; and second, their unwillingness to write about sexuality in older age is partly rooted in their upbringing during Franco’s dictatorial regime, in which sexuality for non-reproductive aims was constructed as immoral. Full article
Back to TopTop