← ESA 2015 homepage

Conceptualizing Ageing


Thu 27. 8.  16:00 - 17:30
room FA 204

How and where is the “potential of ageing” to find?


Brauer, Kai; Lutz, Eva Maria; Gasser, Julia
Carithia UNiversity of Applied Sciences, Austria

With the background of a research project in a community in the south of Carinthia, the presentation should firstly allow insight on the all-day-life reality of the elderly, who try to bring in their potentials to their local society in a community development project. Secondly, the initial consideration of this community project was not a short term action for the improvement of some living conditions, but to initiate a sustainable culture of engagement, whereby the position of the elderly in the local community is determined and created by them. With this empirical background some of the theoretical questions about the “productive” and “successful age” can be newly formulated and additional perspectives should be drafted. This can be interesting also for the social and political options for their promotion in an ageing Europe. 1. Elderly citizens in the so called “shrinking” regions are capable to define, develop and shape practical ideas for the improvement of their quality of life, if adequate moderation techniques (like Open Space, Community Organizing) will be used. 2. The political parties and their conception of ageing dominate the social space, discussions and a distinctive part of the local knowledge. Relatively much intention and time is needed to recognize that the new generations of the elderlies are not to use like a “forth colon” for a political party. Also the reduction of the aged on the deficits (dependence on care) and costs of ageing is in the local gossip and policies still a major topic - with depressing results for all. 3. Demographic projections, predicting for the own small regions an ultimately shrinking, aim directly against the elderly and bring those in defence who like to waken the potentials of civil societies. 4. It seems, that sociological perspectives on the theories on ageing should be re-embedding to normative conceptions. The future for ageing societies is less a question of money, care, productivity or workability, but of liveability: to find a place “where I like to living and ending” (K. Doerner). Maybe a convivial concept of ageing is needed. An ambitious theoretical approach to the potential of ageing societies should not only manage empirically the enormous and growing social and cultural heterogeneity of the last phase of life, but to be able to answer the question, where the special value of ageing can be found. Could it be that the intention on topics like activation and productivity undermine the real potentials of the ageing populations? In our discussions about the findings from the Carinthian community study some other habits, competences and outcomes become uncovered as possible aspects for a sustainable future with increasing life expediency.