Discourses of Health in Old Age

Discourses of Health in Old Age

ESHMS 4th Special Interest Meeting
Date: Thursday 31st August and Friday 1st September 2017
Location: University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

The aim of this Special Interest Meeting is to critically examine the discourses of ageing and health in Europe and their implications for national, European and global contexts.

For example, a growing expectation of healthy, active or “successful” ageing is voiced by Western governments and the mass media which anticipate older people engaging with more individualised health regimes as the population lives increasingly longer lives with more time spent in paid employment. However, concerns over population ageing and its effect on national healthcare systems are increasingly being voiced across the globe. “Apocalyptic demography” (Gee, 2000) is an ideological position that portrays increasing numbers of older people putting intolerable strain on formal healthcare systems and families. In this context, older people become “a ticking time bomb” or a “burden” on the state and their loved ones.

Sociologically and/or epidemiologically informed contributions are sought for this two-day meeting that examine how societies, social care systems and families, together with social and cultural change, influence discourses of health and well-being in ageing societies. Submissions focusing on ageing and health, employment, and well-being are welcome, together with papers addressing the social positioning and determinants of health experiences among older people. As in the previous ESHMS Special Interest Meetings we particularly encourage comparative contributions. Apart from theoretical, qualitative and quantitative contributions focusing on Europe we also welcome work comparing European countries with countries in other world regions.

The Meeting will also focus on providing opportunities to create new globally oriented research collaborations.


The format of the Meeting will be in-depth discussions of full high quality paper presentations. The workshop is limited to 25 presentations in two parallel working groups. Each paper will have a 40-minute time slot, with 15 minutes for the presenter, 10 minutes for a discussant, and 15 minutes for general audience questions.


We are keen to receive submissions from postdoctoral researchers and PhD students in the final stage of their research. Early PhD students are welcome when accompanied by their supervisor.

We welcome participants as either presenters and/or discussants.

Submission for participants who wish to present should include:
An extended abstract (word limit 800 words) Contact details of the author (name, affiliation, email and postal address) Notification of whether you are willing and able to be discussant for (an)other paper(s) Submission for discussants should only include contact details (name, affiliation, email and postal address). Abstracts should be submitted here

The deadline for submission is 3rd April 2017. Acceptance of abstracts will be announced by 17 April 2017. Accepted presenters should send full papers to Professor Karen Lowton k.lowton@sussex.ac.uk by 10 June 2017 (APA style, 7000 words, tables and references not included).

A small number of bursaries to cover registration fees for PhD students is available. Please see the website for details.

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