Talk • Long Lives are for the Rich- Why is there such extreme inequality between older people? How can we analyze this? (Jan Baars, University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, The Netherlands)

November 24, 2021 @ 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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Studies of Critical Gerontology can be carried out in many ways. For instance, describing the situation of any group of older people (in a care home, on the street, in a workplace) and criticizing such situations from a standpoint of dignity or social equality.

It is also possible to investigate how the inequalities of aging processes are organized over the life course (through inheritance, education, work, retirement, pensions, health care) and what societal interests lie behind these processes. This corrects the tendency to regard aging as determined by nature (biology), individual choice or (bad) luck. In this lecture, Jan Baars will follow the second path and explore the question how aging is organized over the life  course by structural and cultural processes, leading to unequal trajectories in terms of socioeconomic resources, mutual (dis)respect and health expectancies. The first part of his lecture will discuss different ways in which aging processes have been structured in terms of age, the life course, generations and cohorts. Secondly, he will discuss processes of aging and especially the factors that determine its outcomes in terms of health and life expectancies. The third part will be about the main forces of social inequality that influence aging processes along the life course. Finally, he will share some thoughts about the way we can approach social equality and inequality.

About the Speaker:

Having studied social sciences and philosophy at the universities of Amsterdam, Berkeley (USA) and Bielefeld (Germany) Jan Baars has been teaching Philosophy of the Social Sciences and the Humanities at different universities since 1970. This has formed the academic background of his perspective on aging studies, which has been one of his areas of study since 1986. This has led to his appointment as Professor of Aging in a Life Course Perspective, especially Interpretive Gerontology, at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Jan is primarily interested in social or societal issues which he approaches from his twofold background in social sciences and philosophy. He is the author or many publications on aging, ranging from conceptual analysis to polemic criticism and more reflective existential perspectives.


November 24, 2021
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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