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Accepted Paper:

The cultural narrative on ageing and its affect on methodology  
Jolien Makkinga (Meertens Institute)

Paper short abstract:

Aging is situated in a sociocultural context. This paper explores how the cultural narrative on aging and decline affects the implementation of methodology and brings limitations to conducting research and studying everyday practices related to aging.

Paper long abstract:

From an anthropological perspective aging is taking place in the context of broader sociocultural narratives. In the Netherlands the broader sociocultural narratives on aging often contains either a decline or age defying ideology (Laceulle & Baars 2014). Especially the narrative of aging and decline predominates when it comes to research on linguistics practices and older people. The perspective prevails that language skills inevitable decline with age (De Bot & Makoni 2005). Moreover, despite the increasing number of multilingual speakers there is limited attention for multilingual older people.

The research of the author is focusing on how bilingual residents of a nursing home in Maastricht, the Netherlands, experience senses of belonging through language practices. During the process of obtaining ethical approval and consent of the nursing home the researcher was confronted with strong perspectives on aging that are related to the cultural narrative on aging and decline. This paper will discuss how the cultural narrative of aging and decline affect the methodology of this research. This paper aims to provide insight in the limitations that the cultural narrative on aging brings to conducting research, methodology, and the everyday practices of aging that remain hidden. The paper will discuss the methodology that is used for this research (ethnography, participant observation, informal interviews, life stories and audio recording) and the affect that the cultural narrative on aging and decline has on the implementation of these methods.

Panel P004
Imagining an old future: anthropological perspectives on age and ageing
  Session 1