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Ageing, Images and Attitudes

RN01S16

Thu 27. 8.  14:00 - 15:30
room FA 204

A Different Type of Ageing? Self-concepts of Elder Gay Men

RN01

Schuetze, Lea Johanna
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany

Current discourses about ‚active ageing‘, old-age poverty or on deficits in elder care often mark age and ageing as universal experiences. To do justice to demographic differentiations in Europe, specific research about age in an intersectional perspective is needed. Following this approach my contribution at ESA 2015 would like to shed light on ageing processes of elder gay men. As there is no universal experience of ‘gay ageing’ and no common figure that implies certain ways of ageing for male homosexuals, my leading question is how gay men in the ‘third age’ (60-80) create concepts of their selves and how they individually integrate patterns and pictures of ageing. Within a qualitative research design, semi-structured Interviews with gay men were conducted. Focusing on my data, I would like to point out how their self-concepts integrate the dimensions and especially the intertwine of (male) homosexuality and age. Secondly, I want to ask if these ways of ageing seem to be different from non-homosexual ageing processes. Considering a queer /poststructuralist theoretical framing I would also like to discuss if findings of “other” ageing can be seen as a construction due to the dualism of hetero- and homosexuality. In a queer perspective common beliefs about what determines age and what is ‘normal‘ and ‘non-normal’ about ageing can be challenged. Following this agenda I want to give insights in my empirical findings and follow the question if a somehow ‘different’ ageing can be found.