Spaces of (non) ageing

Monika Wilinska, PhD Candidate, Social Work

The overall aim of this research project is to inquiry into spaces of ageing within the welfare state context. Spaces of ageing are understood as societal arenas where people may or should grow old, and which indicate the socially acceptable ways of ageing. This project adopts a welfare culture perspective that challenges traditional approaches to the welfare state that perceive it as a fairly constant structure. Instead, the welfare culture perspective highlights the contextual, emotional and unstable character of the welfare state that undergoes indefinite processes of change. It points out to the processes of people production based on instilling in them norms and principles that should govern their lives.

The project examines societal discourses about old age. It focuses on things that are said about old age, done to old age and heard about old age within the welfare state context. Media material, social policy documents, organizational and personal narratives as well as social actions are examples of collected data. That multimodal research material mirrors a variety of meaningful practices enacted in systems of social relations, and affecting identities of involved and/or referred to parties.
This research projects aims to join a difficult endeavor of revealing processes that problematise, discipline and capture old age in our societies. It draws on the necessity of advancing age studies as a filed incorporating various perspectives in its quest for understanding how people are (non) aged by the context they live in.