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Accepted Paper:

Retiring to paradise? - exploring racialized and gendered dimensions of ageing in the Dominican Republic  
Karla Dümmler (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

Paper short abstract:

Taking into account the history of mobility in the Dominican Republic, this talk explores the racialized and gendered ageing experiences of Northern American and European retirees. Thereby it challenges the common division into the "young old" and "oldest old", as other variables come to the fore.

Paper long abstract:

Thousands of European, Canadian and US-American retirees are choosing the north coast of the Dominican Republic as their place of residence for later life. From afar, the country is commonly imagined as a tropical paradise per se, however, the retirees are confronted with an often unexpected reality after having resettled in the Dominican Republic. In my talk, I will explore the encounters between mobile retirees and Dominicans along the lines of racialized and gendered experiences.

First, I will present various actors' reflections on the Dominican north coast that are formulated in two opposing ways: either as the tropical paradise perfectly suited for the ageing body or as a "Sodom and Gomorrah", corrupted by tourism and internal migrants looking for quick money.

Based on this, I will explore the care arrangements, charity work and lives of binational couples by showing how ageing experiences of "western" retirees in the Dominican Republic are firmly shaped by racialized and gendered expectations. I will focus on the intersection of ageing and mobility and will thereby shed light on the implications of retirement mobility on an individual, interpersonal and transnational level. Looking at these particular dimensions of ageing challenges the common division of ageing people into the two following categories: firstly, the healthy "young old", who are able to shape their own ageing, and secondly, the frail "oldest old", who are even more vulnerable through their migration, as other strong influencing factors, in addition to physical fitness and numeric age, come into play.

Panel P125
Horizons of ageing in and beyond Europe: later life experiences in a (im)mobile world [Age and Generations Network]