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Old age is a strongly regulated life phase in which individual practices, bodies, and cultural images are influenced by social orders and policies of age. The panel contrasts these normativities with subjective age practices, in which assumptions about age (bodies, minds, materialities) are queered.
The transition to "old age" has always been socially, culturally, politically, and economically standardized; how one grows old, still depends strongly on the cultural concepts, social practices, political regulations, and economic conditions of a certain milieu and time. Whereas until the mid-20th century elderly people were all in all expected to withdraw from social life (and did so due to being exhausted after a comparatively unhealthy working life), today they are confronted with the overall idea of "active aging", that is, still bringing their potential into society, be it as informal carers, volunteers, or employees who must supplement their pensions. How do elderly women and men deal with these expectations? How do they resist the social expectations of old age? How do they undermine political regulations and cultural images of age? What resources are available to them and in how far does gender and sociocultural background matter?
The panel examines the (subversive) practices of older people with which they queer the images, norms, and policies of old age that are directed at them. Invited are presentations that critically examine age, body, materiality, and discourses and ask about the other spaces, practices, narratives, and images of aging that disrupt the hegemony of old age as the Other and Abject and instead emphasize the agency of older people.
As we want to foster the discussion about the transformation of old age in aging societies and address a wider public, we apply for a panel with a round table discussion.