This panel brings into dialogue research on transforming notions and enactments of life, aging, death, and the mediating practice of care with emerging political, institutional, economic, and health-care landscapes as nations around the world begin to prepare for future aging societies.
Like Japan, many nations face future demographics with low birth rates and rising numbers of aged, necessitating transformations in social, economic, environmental, and political spheres of life. As new health care plans are enacted, policies reformed, economic sanctions passed, and the requisite institutions and infrastructures erected to address the needs of an aging population; life, death, aging and old age are likewise transforming into something ontologically new and as yet unknown. What is "life," at the individual and social level, when it is nearing death? What becomes of a society when the majority of the population is aging and in need of care, but there is no vital labor force to provide that care? Is there a future, and if so what is it? This panel brings into dialogue micro and macro level research on transforming notions and enactments of life, aging, death, and the mediating practice of care in tandem with emerging political, institutional, economic, and health-care landscapes. It furthermore invites and encourages participants to unsettle analytical categories of life and death, self and society, and public and private in favor of approaches more suited to the study of processes and emergence.