Age and Generations Network (AGENET)

Network convenors
Matthew Lariviere,
Barbara Pieta,

Background

This network brings together social anthropologists engaged in research, teaching, and applied work involving older adults, multi/inter-generational relationships, and life-course perspectives. The impetus to form the group was the need to enhance the presence of anthropology in research on ageing, generation and the life course. Issues around ageing, generation and the life course are increasingly influencing not only the fabrics of social relations, social policies, and health, but also emerging issues in areas like migration, new technology and climate change. The ability to understand these global transformations requires the kind of holistic, comparative, empirically grounded theory that anthropology excels at. In placing age and generations at the center of analyses of social life, our work reconsiders the diversity of roles people of all ages occupy; the different forms of agency and political power they wield; the intersections of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and socio-economic positioning across the life course; the changing and multiple social roles of elders within families and other social groups and communities spanning across and between different societies.

Aims

 

Webinar: 8th September 2021

Aspirations, Obligations, Linked Lives: Understanding Life-Course Transitions through Configurations of Care
Dr. Swetlana Torno (HCTS, Heidelberg University)

Taking as a starting point the assumption that lives are socially structured and contingent, this talk suggests the lens of “care configurations” for the study of life-course transitions and trajectories. Anthropological approaches to people’s lives tend to assume an automatic or obvious movement of a person from one life-course position to another. Moreover, anthropologists often focus on distinct life phases without extrapolating to previous and post-phase conditions. Finally, and seminal for this talk’s theme, the role of care in shaping people’s life trajectories is often overlooked. Acknowledging concepts developed in historical and sociological life-course research and by attending to configurations of care that surround people in particular moments in time, this lecture offers an alternative framework for the study of life-course transitions and extended periods of life. To exemplify my approach, I will focus on the daily routine of a young girl from a low-income household in Tajikistan and discuss how different constellations and practices of care shaped her trajectory from school to university. The presentation is based on eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork in a provincial town in Tajikistan on women’s life-courses and the re-organization of public and private care arrangements in post-socialist transformation contexts.