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Accepted Paper:

Undoing gerontic norms. Aging well outside the "successful aging paradigm".  
Christopher Zraunig (Princeton University)

Paper Short Abstract:

The "successful aging paradigm" has increasingly been criticized for its inherent ableist and heterosexist norms. Queer/crip aging can be a creative force for alternative gerontic worldings, escaping normativities, and thus generating & affirming livable forms of later life and new ways to age well.

Paper Abstract:

Successful aging has become a contemporary obsession (Lamb et al. 2017). Striving to eradicate the declines, vulnerabilities, and dependencies commonly associated with old age through medical technique and individual effort is what defines this vision of aging, which is often represented by the image of an active heterosexual couple and happy intimacies with grandchildren. While appealing to many, this model has increasingly also been criticized for its inherent ableist and heterosexist norms. With my research, I am asking what worldings queer/crip aging can afford amidst prevalent heteronormative and ableist ideals of successful aging. How might aging well become possible when one ages queer/crip? Aging well in this context is “not about achieving successful aging, but about coping with the unrealistic demand and limit such a goal imposes” (Ramirez-Valles 2016, 21). In this light, queer/crip aging can become a creative force because it allows to communicate and circulate alternative ways of being and becoming old. "Failure" then not only becomes critique (cf. Halberstam 2011), but it posits a reinterpretation of what aging well can mean. Queer/crip aging thereby leaks through the logics of successful aging, pointing to the abundance of possible becomings. While queer/crip aging is not immune to the challenges of physical and mental decline in later life, it offers new alternatives instead of resulting in inevitable and totalizing loss, evading normalization and thus generating and affirming livable forms of later life. My paper discusses recent findings from fieldwork in/around geriatric settings in Berlin, Germany, with regards to such possibilities.

Panel OP087
The intersectionality of anthropology, ageing, and disability studies [Medical Anthropology Europe (MAE)]
  Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -