Hier01
Horizons of life, morals of age

Convenors:
Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins (Prifysgol Aberystwyth)
Andrew Dawson (University of Melbourne)
Stream:
Social hierarchies
Location:
Old Arts-254
Start time:
4 December, 2015 at 11:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Growing old brings status shifts, opens (or closes) social roles, and carries cultural meanings and imperatives. How might ageing meet moralities? This panel seeks to explore how latter stages of the life course are mediated, interpreted, judged or de/valued with and through moral discourses.

Long abstract:

Just as the life course is bodily lived and socially shaped so is it morally mediated. Meanings of 'the good,' for example, may shift with advancing age, while moral discourses may map how ageing is to be both lived and interpreted. This panel is specifically concerned with moralities in and through the latter stages of the life course. How, we ask, might moralities intersect with ageing? Might they complement - might they collide? We seek contributions that explore how moral discourses are affixed to or shaped by both social understandings and personal experiences of growing old. Shifts in age group or status may bring more - or less - opportunity to exert moral influence. Moral judgments may be meted in the roles of respected elders, as they are in and against ageism, and in the fears and realities of elder abuse. Meanwhile, ageing bodies and minds are subject to clinical appraisals - might the medical twine with the moral, too? Perhaps, as with recent ideals of 'successful ageing,' what it means to grow old may itself become laden with moral imperative. Ageing offers a broad terrain for the cross-cultural consideration of moral meanings. In turn, ethnographic sensibilities offer to deepen understandings of ageing. We particularly encourage participants to reflect on how anthropological perspectives may contribute to broader scholarship on age, and/or may challenge contemporary discourses on growing old.