Special Issue "New Perspectives on Aging Futures"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Stephen Katz
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, Center for Aging and Society, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, Ontario K9L 0G2, Canada
Interests: biopolitics of aging; critical gerontology; sociology of the body; memory and cognitive culture; health and human sciences

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Societies invites manuscripts of original research that explore “aging futures” through critical and interdisciplinary perspectives from the social sciences or humanities. According to Nikolas Rose, “contemporary biopolitics is infused with futurity, saturated with anticipations of imagined futures”. How such biopolitics is connected to age and aging forms the theme of this issue. Topics may include the construction of “futurity” around aging populations, the biomedicalization of longevity, anti-aging culture and technologies, narrative visions of a good “old age”, speculative fiction and media, age studies and knowledge-making into future, new bio-gerontological forms of life, the future of intergenerational ethics, new age categories and standards, post-traditional life-courses, the globalization of aging, design futures for aging spaces, aging risk and uncertainty, new genres of meaning and identity, cities and nations of age, future temporalities and everyday life, and the political futures of health and care regimes. The overall aim of the issue is to expand scholarship beyond current economic, demographic and medical models of aging futures to encompass a broader critical thought space that looks ahead to what future probabilities and possibilities are emerging from the social, technological, scientific, governmental, imaginative, cultural and global processes of aging in the present.

Prof. Dr. Stephen Katz
Guest Editor

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. 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.

Keywords

  • Aging futures
  • Critical perspectives
  • Lifecourse biopolitics
  • Longevity and society

Published Papers (6 papers)

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

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessEditorial
Looking Backward While Gazing Ahead: An Historian of Aging Reflects on Time’s Borders
Societies 2017, 7(2), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7020009 - 20 Apr 2017
Abstract
Looking backward for a usable past has long been an instructive way to gaze into the vagaries of an uncertain future. I learned the merits of this approach training to be an historian. And as an historian interested in gerontology, I grew to [...] Read more.
Looking backward for a usable past has long been an instructive way to gaze into the vagaries of an uncertain future. I learned the merits of this approach training to be an historian. And as an historian interested in gerontology, I grew to appreciate the value of studying continuities and changes in human development set into motion before late life. This essay begins in the present with my imminent retirement. It then looks retrospectively at my academic career with the hope that emerging scholars can profit from the journey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Other

Open AccessArticle
Queering Aging Futures
Societies 2017, 7(3), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7030021 - 31 Aug 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
This paper explores the potential for cultural gerontology to extend its ideas of diversity in aging experiences by opening space to rethink conceptions of successful aging futures. We propose a ‘queering’ of aging futures that disrupts the ways that expectations of a good [...] Read more.
This paper explores the potential for cultural gerontology to extend its ideas of diversity in aging experiences by opening space to rethink conceptions of successful aging futures. We propose a ‘queering’ of aging futures that disrupts the ways that expectations of a good later life and happy aging are seen to adhere to some bodies and subjectivities over others. Drawing on feminist, queer, and crip theories, we build on existing critiques of ‘successful aging’ to interrogate the assumptions of heteronormativity, able-bodiedness and able-mindedness that shape the dividing lines between success and failure in aging, and which inform attempts to ‘repair’ damaged futures. Conclusions suggest that recognizing diversity in successful aging futures is important in shaping responses to the challenges of aging societies, and presents an opportunity for critical cultural gerontology to join with its theoretical allies in imagining more inclusive alternatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)
Open AccessArticle
‘No, My Husband Isn’t Dead, [But] One Has to Re-Invent Sexuality’: Reading Erica Jong for the Future of Aging
Societies 2017, 7(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7020011 - 04 May 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
New biomedicalized forms of longevity, anti-aging ideals, and the focus on successful aging have permeated the current sociocultural and political climate, and will affect the future of aging. This article examines changing attitudes towards sexual practices and the perception of sexuality in later [...] Read more.
New biomedicalized forms of longevity, anti-aging ideals, and the focus on successful aging have permeated the current sociocultural and political climate, and will affect the future of aging. This article examines changing attitudes towards sexual practices and the perception of sexuality in later years, as exemplified in Erica Jong’s middle and late life works and interviews. Instead of succumbing to anti-aging culture and biomedicalization of sex in old age, Jong reveals alternative ways of exploring sexual practices in older age, and challenges a pharmaceutical market that promotes the consumption of medication to enhance the idea of virility and ‘sexual fitness’ in older men. Jong’s work undoes the narrative of decline that portrays older individuals as sexually inactive and frail, and, at the same time, shows that the interest in sexual intercourse and the erect phallus gradually becomes less important as people grow older. This qualitative narrative analysis opens the discussion for reconsideration of late-life sexuality beyond biomedical understandings of late-life sex and old age. The study also reveals how a literary approach can provide alterative and more realistic perspectives towards sexual experiences in later stages of life that can have significant implications for healthcare policy and the future of aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)
Open AccessArticle
Examining Supportive Evidence for Psychosocial Theories of Aging within the Oral History Narratives of Centenarians
Societies 2017, 7(2), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7020008 - 19 Apr 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Oral history provides researchers opportunities to assess narratives and compare them to existing theories of aging. Oftentimes the discussion of psychosocial theories of aging does not include the oldest-old. The purpose of this study was to assess evidence of psychosocial theories of aging [...] Read more.
Oral history provides researchers opportunities to assess narratives and compare them to existing theories of aging. Oftentimes the discussion of psychosocial theories of aging does not include the oldest-old. The purpose of this study was to assess evidence of psychosocial theories of aging within oral history narratives from a subsample of 20 centenarians from the Oklahoma 100 Year Life Oral History Project. Analysis utilized seven theories: Activity Theory, Continuity Theory, Disengagement Theory, Theory of Gerotranscendence, Modernization Theory, Selective Optimization with Compensation (SOC) Theory, and Socioemotional Selectivity Theory (SST). Researchers used content analysis to assess each oral history narrative and noted Activity Theory and Gerotranscendence had the most evidence. Most centenarians described how they were extremely active well into older adulthood. Common themes across oral history narratives indicated that centenarians maintained a preference for activity such as formal work. Centenarians also reported a readiness for death and little fear of it. In addition, increased time spent reflecting on spirituality and religion indicated changes in self-discovery. Identification of Disengagement and Socioemotional Selectivity were sparse in the transcripts. It is possible that to reach such longevity, centenarians relied on their communities and support networks to achieve this status. It is also possible that centenarians outlived individuals in their social networks who were emotionally fulfilling. Further qualitative work should assess evidence of psychosocial theories among other long-lived older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)
Open AccessArticle
Older People, Mobile Communication and Risks
Societies 2017, 7(2), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7020007 - 14 Apr 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Starting from Beck’s concept of reflexivity, the paper investigates differences in risk perception regarding wireless technologies expressed by older people living in Romania and Catalonia (Spain). We combine evidence from conversations held with older individuals in different research projects together with an ad-hoc [...] Read more.
Starting from Beck’s concept of reflexivity, the paper investigates differences in risk perception regarding wireless technologies expressed by older people living in Romania and Catalonia (Spain). We combine evidence from conversations held with older individuals in different research projects together with an ad-hoc media content analysis. Our research reveals that seniors’ discourses were consistent with the media prominence of different types of risks in each country. Results show that seniors’ discourses on health risks relate to the way the media discussed them, with Romanian participants, in contrast to older people from Catalonia, expressing no concerns about electromagnetic radiation. Also, Romanian seniors were more concerned about the risk to others—younger family members—whereas seniors in Catalonia were more concerned about their own risks. Seniors from Romania made more references to the country’s development. We discuss aging futures in societies with different risk perceptions. As the media presents the risks associated with digital technologies in differing lights, people’s perceptions are formed accordingly. Also, in countries where technology is perceived as good per se, the techno-optimistic discourse would be reinforced not only by the media but also by the groups exposed to the highest social pressure towards technology adoption—for example, seniors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Open AccessEssay
From Triple Win to Triple Sin: How a Problematic Future Discourse is Shaping the Way People Age with Technology
Societies 2017, 7(3), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc7030026 - 15 Sep 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
This essay provides a critical analysis of the ageing-and-innovation discourse. The ageing-and-innovation discourse is a key rhetorical structure that legitimizes very large investments in technologies for older people. In this discourse, ageing is positioned as an imminent crisis that will affect whole societies, [...] Read more.
This essay provides a critical analysis of the ageing-and-innovation discourse. The ageing-and-innovation discourse is a key rhetorical structure that legitimizes very large investments in technologies for older people. In this discourse, ageing is positioned as an imminent crisis that will affect whole societies, both socially and economically. Investing in technological solutions is, in turn, positioned as a solution that generates benefits on a societal, economical and individual level. This discourse is used to legitimize investment, rally support and reduce uncertainty. We contend that there are three problems with the ageing-and-innovation discourse. First, it legitimizes investment in every technology for older people and thus provides no means of discriminating between useful and non-useful technologies. Second, this discourse presupposes a very negative view of ageing that jars with the positive view of ageing that many older people have, which, in turn, leads to problems with acceptance of these technologies. Third, the ageing-and-innovation discourse creates a moral high ground that makes it hard for opponents to disagree with this discourse. The ageing-and-innovation discourse is a successful rhetorical device, but it ultimately hinders the development of suitable technologies that fit in with the lives of older people and thus needs to be reconsidered by scientists, policy makers and industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)
Back to TopTop