Aging studies Series

AS Series


Series Editors: Ulla Kriebernegg, Heike Hartung and Roberta Maierhofer
The Aging Studies Series published by transcript features interdisciplinary research on the study of cultural aging.

Aging Experiments. Future and Fantasies of Old Age

(Published 2023)

Joao Paulo Guimaraes (ed.)

The sustained expansion of the life span and the attendant demographic changes in the West have fuelled the production of cultural texts that explore alternative representations of aging and old age. The contributors to this volume show how artists in science-fiction, fantasy and the avant-garde develop visions of late life transformation, improvisation and adaptation to new circumstances. The studies particularly focus on perspectives on aging that challenge the predominant narratives of decline as well as fantasies of eternal youth, as defined by neoliberal notions of health, able-bodiedness, agency, self-improvement, progress, plasticity and productivity.

Gender and Age/Aging in Popular Culture. Representations in Film, Music, Literature and Social Media

(Published 2023)

Nicole Haring, Roberta Maierhofer and Barbara Ratzenböck (eds.)

As social spaces are culturally diverse and digitally networked, the reality of our lives is shaped by processes of globalization and digitization. This leads to the question of whether popular cultures enable or impede (inter-)cultural exchange and global communication. To explore this, the contributors to this volume analyse representations of the intersections of gender and age/ing in cultural and media consumption, such as literature, film, music, and social media. The interconnectedness between gender and aging has been evident since the 1990s and enabled the recognition of age as a cultural category – now is the time to take this intersectional analysis further.

Masculinities Ageing between Cultures. Relationality, Kinship and Care in Dialogue

(Published 2023)

Heike Hartung, Roberta Maierhofer and Christian Schmitt-Kilb (eds.)

Global mobility is one of the crucial phenomena of our time. Combining the theoretical frameworks of masculinity studies and age studies, the contributors to this volume examine the intersection of cultural exchange, gender and age, exploring ageing masculinities with reference to the key concepts of relationality, kinship and care. The essays analyze transcultural experiences of ageing men from Europe, relationships including the Indian diaspora in the US, Chinese father images in the US-American context and Black British queer kinship, drawing its examples also from Brazilian society and African European contexts.

Extraordinary Forms of Aging. Life Narratives of Centenarians and Children with Progeria

(Published 2022)

Julia Velten

While aging and the life-course appear to be normalized processes, the complex construction of age at the intersection of biology, society, and culture remains opaque. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of age(ing) by exploring its construction through the analysis of extraordinary cases. Focusing on life narratives of centenarians and children with progeria, Julia Velten analyzes the way in which these people experience age(ing) and shows how these experiences can contribute to our understanding of age. Situated at the intersection of aging studies and medical humanities, the study explores what extraordinary age(ing) can tell us about aging processes in general.

Empowering the Elderly? How Help to Self-Help. Health Interventions Shape Ageing and Eldercare in Denmark

(Published 2020)

Amy Clotworthy

Health programs that offer “help to self-help” are meant to empower aging adults to remain independent and self-sufficient at home for as long as possible. But what happens when the private home becomes a political realm in which state intervention and individual agency happen simultaneously? Based on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in a Danish municipality, Amy Clotworthy describes how both health professionals and elderly citizens negotiate the political discourses about health and aging that frame their relational encounter. By elucidating some of the conflicts, paradoxes, and negotiations that occur, she provides important insights into the contemporary organization of eldercare.

Demenz Im Quartier. Ehrenamt und Sozialraumorientierung für das Alter

(Published 2022)

Reimer Gronemeyer, Martina Ritter, Oliver Schultz and Jutta Träger (eds.)

Die Anzahl demenzkranker Menschen in Deutschland nimmt stetig zu. Daraus folgen neue Anforderungen an Betreuungs- und Pflegekontexte, die gesamtgesellschaftliche Relevanz entfalten. Die Beiträger*innen des Bandes befassen sich am Beispiel Hessens mit der Frage, wie es um die Demenz-Versorgung in unterschiedlichen Quartieren steht, wie stark ehrenamtliches Engagement ist, welche Unterstützungen und welche Versorgungslücken es gibt. Neben der sozialraumorientierten Betrachtung von dörflichen, kleinstädtischen und großstädtischen Kontexten thematisieren sie auch die Folgen der Corona-Pandemie und geben u.a. aus konvivialistischer Perspektive Einblicke in Problemlagen und Lösungsansätze.

Foreign Countries of Old Age. East and Southeast European Perspective on Aging

(Published 2021)

Dagmar Gramshammer-Hohl and Oana Hergenröther (eds.)

The exploration of what May Sarton calls the »foreign country of old age« usually does not go far beyond the familiar: the focus of Aging Studies has thus far clearly rested upon North America and Western Europe. This multi-disciplinary essay collection critically examines conditions and representations of old age and aging in Eastern and Southeastern Europe from various perspectives of the humanities and social sciences. By shedding light on these culturally specific contexts, the contributions widen our understanding of the aging process in all its diversity and demonstrate that a shift in perspectives might in fact challenge a number of taken-for-granted positions and presumptions of Aging Studies.

A Senior Moment: Cultural Mediations of Memory and Ageing

(Published August 2020)

Line Grenier / Fannie Valois-Nadeau (eds.)

Ageing and memory – two aspects of life everybody has to face eventually. The contributions to this volume explore the cultural mediations of these categories. Through a series of approaches focused on practices and acts of memory, narratives, reminiscence, representation and collective memory, they seek to better understand and critically reflect on how ageing is experienced in variegated ways across the lifespan. By covering a variety of phenomena, from biopics, music by the elderly, and artefacts, among other, they all contribute to further the understanding of memory as a cultural process always in the making – situated in particular contexts, and shaped by its material conditions of existence.

ISBN 978-3-8376-3683-3

Aging and Self-Realization. Cultural Narratives about Later Life

(Published 2018)

Hanne Laceulle

Dominant cultural narratives about later life dismiss the value senior citizen hold for society. In her cultural-philosophical critique, Hanne Laceulle outlines counter narratives that acknowledge both potentials and vulnerabilities of later life. She draws on the rich philosophical tradition of thought about self-realization and explores the significance of ethical concepts essential to the process of growing old such as autonomy, authenticity and virtue. These counter narratives aim to support older individuals in their search for a meaningful age identity, while they make society recognize its senior members as valued participants and moral agents of their own lives.

Imagining Ageing. Representations of Age and Ageing in Anglophone Literatures

(Published 2018)

Carmen Concilio (ed.)

What do literary texts tell us about growing old? The essays in this volume introduce and explore representations of ageing and old age in canonical works of English and Postcolonial Literature. The contributors take a look at texts by William Shakespeare, Daniel Defoe, Julian Barnes, Thomas Kinsella, Seamus Heaney, J.M. Coetzee, Alice Munro, Withi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace and suggest solutions – with the help of a Medical study – to the challenges that come with the current demographic change brought about by ageing Western populations.

Re-Discovering Age(ing): Narratives of Mentorship

(Published 2019)

Núria Casado-Gual, Emma Domínguez-Rué, and Maricel Oró-Piqueras (Eds.)

Since Mentor, Telemachus’s advisor in Homer’s Odyssey, gave name to the figure of the “wise teacher,” fictional representations of mentoring have permeated different classic and contemporary cultural texts of different literary genres such as fiction, poetry, and life writing. The contributions of this volume analyze this narrative of mentorship that offers a mirror and also a narrative practice through which ageist views of later life (and also of youth) may be undermined, while it, at the same time, enables a study of questions relevant to wisdom in old age.

This volume is a tribute to Brian Worsfold’s and Maria Vidal’s contribution to aging studies. ENAS would like to thank them for their dedication to creating synergies among scholars of different fields within aging studies from all over the world and for mentoring so many members of our growing community. It was always a pleasure working with you.

ISBN: 978-3-8376-4396-1

Embodied Narration: Illness, Death and Dying in Modern Culture

(Published August 2018)

Heike Hartung (ed.)

Do liminal embodied experiences such as illness, death and dying affect literary form? In recent years, the concept of embodiment has been theorized from various perspectives. Gender studies have been concerned with the cultural implications of embodiment, arguing to move away from viewing the body as a prediscursive phenomenon to regarding it as an acculturated body. Age studies have extended this view to the embodied experience of ageing, while drawing attention to the ways in which the ageing body, through its materiality and plasticity, restricts the possibilities of (de)constructing subjectivity. These current debates on embodiment find a strong counterpart in literary representation. The contributions to this anthology investigate how and to what extend physical borderline experiences affect literary form.

ISBN: 78-3-8376-4306-0


Aging in Slavic Literatures: Essays in Literary Gerontology

(published July 2017)

Dagmar Gramshammer-Hohl (ed.)

In Slavic studies, aging and old age have thus far been only marginal concerns. This volume brings together the scattered research that has been done up to now on aging as represented and narrated in Slavic literatures. The essays investigate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Slovene and Ukrainian representations of age/aging in various literary genres and epochs and analyze age as a powerful marker of difference and as constitutive of social relations and personal identity.

ISBN 978-3-8376-3221-7

Senior Tourism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging and Traveling

(published August 2017)

Simone Francescato,  Roberta Maierhofer,  Valeria Minghetti, Eva-Maria Trinkaus (eds.)

This volume aims to bridge the disciplinary gap between tourism studies and aging studies. It investigates the intersections of tourism and aging from a variety of perspectives which focus on the many ways in which senior tourism is socially constructed and/or individually experienced. The essays tackle key topics ranging from the socio-economic aspects of post-retirement travel to the representations of the traveling elderly in literature, film and media, and the influence of travel on late-life creativity.

ISBN 978-3-8376-3703-8

Care Home Stories: Aging, Disability, and long-term Residential Care

(Published October 2017)

Sally Chivers / Ulla Kriebernegg (eds.)

Institutional care for seniors offers a cultural repository for fears and hopes about an aging population. Although enormous changes have occurred in how institutional care is structured, the legacies of the poor house still persist, creating panicked views of the nursing home as a dreaded fate. The paradoxical nature of a space meant to be both hospital and home offers up critical tensions for examination by age studies scholars.
The essays in this book challenge stereotypes of institutional care for older adults, illustrate the changes that have occurred over time, and illuminate the continuities in the stories we tell about nursing homes.

ISBN 978-3-8376-3805-9

Salty Old Women

Frauen, Altern und Identität in der amerikanischen Literatur und Kultur
(2. Auflage – überarbeitete Neuausgabe)

Roberta Maierhofer

(expected May 2018)

Der amerikanische Feminismus ist alt und grau geworden. Roberta Maierhofers Studie setzt an der Schnittstelle zwischen Identität, Alter und Geschlecht an und lässt die »Salty Old Women« neben die hinlänglich bekannten »Sweet Old Ladies« treten.
Durch einen anokritischen Zugang, der in Anlehnung an Elaine Showalters »gynocriticism« die Annahme ablehnt, dass die Biologie des Menschen identitätsbestimmend den sozialen und kulturellen Stellenwert festlegt, begibt sie sich auf die Suche nach einer spezifischen weiblichen Kultur des Alterns.

ISBN 978-3-8376-2445-8

Alter(n) als soziale und kulturelle Praxis

Ordnungen – Beziehungen – Materialitäten

Cordula Endter / Sabine Kienitz (Hg.)

(published March 2017)

Wie wird man eigentlich alt? Können Dinge auch altern? Und wie verändern sich die eigenen biographischen Erfahrungen und der Umgang mit Erinnerung(en)?
Dieser Band rückt die Frage nach den Beziehungen des Alter(n)s ins Zentrum und stellt dabei verschiedene interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf das Altern als soziale Praxis und kulturelle Ordnung vor. Entlang der drei leitenden Begriffe – Ordnungen, Praktiken, Materialitäten – loten die ethnographischen, historischen und diskursorientierte Beiträge kulturelle Vorstellungen, alltagsweltliche Aushandlungen und materielle Erscheinungsformen des Alter(n)s aus.

ISBN 978-3-8376-3411-2

Traces of Aging

Traces of Aging

Old Age and Memory in Contemporary Narrative

Marta Cerezo Moreno / Nieves Pascual Soler (eds.)

(published March 2016)

This collection consists of eight essays that examine the way narratives determine our understanding of old age and condition how the experience is lived. Contributors to this volume have based their analysis on the concept of »narrative identity« developed by Paul Ricoeur, built upon the idea that fiction makes life, and on his definition of »trace« as the mark of time. By investigating the traces of aging imprinted in a series of literary and filmic works they dismantle the narrative of old age as decline and foreclosure to assemble one of transformation and growth.

ISBN 978-3-8376-3439-6

Serializing Age

Aging and Old Age in TV Series

Maricel Oró-Piqueras / Anita Wohlmann (eds.)

(published December 2015)

Serialized storytelling provides intriguing opportunities for critical representations of age and aging. In contrast to the finite character of films, television narratives can unfold across hundreds of episodes and multiple seasons. Contemporary viewing practices and new media technologies have resulted in complex television narratives, in which experimental temporalities and revisions of narrative linearity and chronological time have become key features. As the first of its kind, this volume investigates how TV series as a powerful cultural medium shape representations of age and aging, such as in »Orange Is The New Black«, »The Wire« or »Desperate Housewives«, to understand what it means to live in time.

ISBN 978-3-8376-3276-7

Popularizing Dementia

Public Expressions and Representations of Forgetfulness

Aagje Swinnen / Mark Schweda (eds.)

(published November 2015)

How are individual and social ideas of late-onset dementia shaped and negotiated in film, literature, the arts, and the media? And how can the symbolic forms provided by popular culture be adopted and transformed by those affected in order to express their own perspectives? This international and interdisciplinary volume summarizes central current research trends and opens new theoretical and empirical perspectives on dementia in popular culture. It includes contributions by internationally renowned scholars from the humanities, social and cultural gerontology, age(ing) studies, cultural studies, philosophy, and bioethics.
Contributions by Lucy Burke, Marlene Goldman, Annette Leibing and others.

ISBN 978-3-8376-2710-7

Alive and Kicking at All Ages: Health, Life Expectancy, and Life Course Identity

(published March 2014)

Ulla Kriebernegg / Roberta Maierhofer / Barbara Ratzenböck (eds.)

The linking of age and ill-health is part of a cultural narrative of decline as age is often defined as the absence of good health. Research has shown that we are aged by culture, but we are also culturally made ill when we age. The cultural ambiguity of aging can thus deconstruct negative images of old age as physical decrepitude. This volume investigates the topic of health within the matrix of time and experience by addressing issues such as how our understanding of health influences our notion of agency within a subversive deconstruction of normative age concepts, and what role the notion of health plays in such an interaction.

ISBN: 978-3-8376-2582-0

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Aged Young Adults: Age Readings of Contemporary American Novels and Films

(published January 2017)

Anita Wohlmann

When Toula’s father in »My Big Fat Greek Wedding« says to his daughter (age 30) »you look so old« or when Don DeLillo’s protagonist (age 28) »feels old« in »Cosmopolis«, these young characters are attributed an age awareness that has received little attention in age studies so far. Leaving aside chronological or biological dimensions of age, this study approaches age as a metaphoric practice, suggesting that »feeling old« is not to be taken literally but metaphorically. The book examines the cultural meanings of age and aging and challenges often-quoted labels such as late-coming-of-age story or perpetual adolescence.

ISBN 978-3-8376-2483-0

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The Ages of Life : Living and Aging in Conflict?

(published May 2013)

Ulla Kriebernegg / Roberta Maierhofer (eds.)

Since antiquity the concept of the ages of life has been related to changing iconographies and representations. These range from Ptolemy’s cosmology of the seven ages of life and Galenic medicine’s four elements to the ladder of years, which has identified the ages of life with social roles during the eighteenth century. In contemporary Western societies the ages of life have, on the one hand, been redefined as the biography of the individual subject. On the other hand, the category of “youth” has continually been displaced toward the end of the life course, turning living and aging into apparently conflicting processes.

The binary construction of “young” and “old”, which is based on a biogerontological model of aging as decline, can be redefined as the ambiguity of aging from a cultural studies perspective. This cultural ambiguity of aging enables an analysis of the social functions of images of aging in order to provide a basis for interdisciplinary exchange on gerontological knowledge. Such forms of analysis make visible the contradictions between images of positive or “successful aging” in marketing, which target the affluent and healthy ‘young old’ and may serve as meaningful and empowering for those addressed, while they can also exclude and stigmatize those of the ‘oldest old’ who face the realities of illness in old age. By contrast, it is also possible to deconstruct apparently negative images of old age as physical decrepitude and disease by focusing on the possibilities of appreciating life even in the oldest age as a form of “successful frailty”. The chapters in this yearbook conceive the relationship between living and aging as a productive antagonism, which focuses on the interplay between continuity and change as a marker of life course identity. Aging and growing older are processes which cannot be reduced to the chronology of years but which are shaped by the individual’s interaction with the changing circumstances of life. To the degree that it enables agency, living and aging make possible the subversive deconstruction of normative age concepts.

ISBN 978-3-8376-2212-6

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Aging, Performance, and Stardom: Doing Age on the Stage of Consumerist Culture

(published in 2012)

Aagje Swinnen and John A Stotesbury (Eds.)

In aging studies, age, like other salient markers of identity, is defined not in terms of being but of doing. One adjusts automatically to the implicit norms of age-appropriate behavior that structure everyday life. In Western culture, these norms install a hierarchical dichotomy between the young and the old – the latter still getting the worst of it.

This second volume in the Aging Studies in Europe series focuses on questions concerning the ways in which actors and socialites perform aging on the stage of consumerist culture. How do celebrities, whose star personae are ultimately connected with the prime of their lives, cope with the aging process? Which public practices invite subtle adjustment of age scripts that focus on the decline of physical strength and attractiveness as the years pass?

ISBN  978-3-643-90176-7

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Narratives of Life: Mediating Age

(published in 2008)

Heike Hartung and Roberta Maierhofer (Eds.)

Narratives of Life: Mediating Age. The prospect of increasing longevity has turned aging and old age into a topic of concern in Western societies. The discourse of age and the proliferation of narrative in contemporary media culture both transgress disciplinary boundaries. Addressing the “narratives of life” from different disciplinary angles this volume aims to explore the scope of a narrative gerontology. Aging and the stories that are told about it or from within are transnational and transcultural phenomena. While aging is thus a universal process, attention is also drawn to the categories of difference that it evokes: Historical, social and cultural differences as well as gender differences.

ISBN 978-3-8258-1229-4

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