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A Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network Conference



Change and

Social Solidarity

Managing Diversity in Ageing Societies






The world population profile is ageing, with improved social and welfare provision and health care (both state and NGO) and technological, political and cultural changes across authoritarian and democratic societies. The combination of greater longevity and lower fertility is prompting projections that the percentage of older people (over 65) will almost double by 2050. Even before 2020, the number of people over 65 is projected as exceeding the number of children below 5. The issues connected with ageing will be discussed at the conference Ageing, Generational Change and Social Solidarity: Managing Diversity in Ageing Societies. 

The conference will be held in English. Abstract submission deadline: May 28, 2018.

9-10 July

Ageing, Generational Change and Social Solidarity

The fact that the world population profile is ageing brings new challenges for the health care system, the social care system, cultural conceptions of work, education, civic life and public participation, and public finance, pensions and retirement policies. In addition, the comparative pace of ageing is unequal, with ageing populations in Europe, and North America, with youngest populations in Africa and the Middle East. This has implications for global patterns of economic development, wealth and productivity and immigration and diasporic change, where social change becomes not just economic and cultural, but also generational. More, ageing population profiles are more differentiated within societies, and changing social composition and cultural diversity makes an ageing population less easily managed by ‘catch all’ solutions. This signals new challenges in both respecting social, cultural and generational diversity, whilst maintaining social solidarity and cohesion.

In addition to generational population change, the character of aging is changing. No longer are older generations easily characterised as physically and mentally frail, dependent and less capable, progressively passive, unsexual. receivers rather than producers of goods services or creativity, focused on private and family issues and disinterested in public affairs and taking from society rather than contributing. Grey politics, the aesthetic and cultural creativity of older people, older entrepeneurialism and participation and an interest in civic and personal pleasures are making older people less easily confined to private space. The breakdown of these stereotypes has an impact on how older people are seen and catering for by public and private services, how families and communities are composed, and how political will and demands are represented. In this context, in both values, representations and practices, diversity presents challenges for traditional solidarities to change and develop.

This Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network (CDSS) conference seeks to provide a space for those scholars - established or early career, academic or policy/practice-focused - interested in aging and generational questions of solidarity and difference. Papers. posters and panels are sought from both within and across the humanities, social sciences, and other disciplinary boundaries or transdisciplinary approaches, with a view to extending critical and creative analyses of generational changes as they pertain to the balances of cultural difference and social solidarity within and across borders.

Topics and Participation

Areas of Interest

  • Intergenerational solidarity and social, political and cultural strategies - public, private and NGO - to develop solidarity across generations
  • Generational issues in balancing respecting differences and maintaining social cohesion in contemporary societies
  • Policy and practice differences in meeting the needs of older and younger age groups in the society, with attendant problems in policy areas such as health care, social welfare and pensions, labour and retirement regulation, equality legislation and policies against inequality, and civic and public provision
  • The possible choices in new initiatives, policies and demographic strategies in the management of generational diversity
  • Issues of social solidarity and multi-culturalism in pluralist societies - the challenges of age and fertility differences between migrants, diasporic communities and established population
  • Global questions of age and generational change and economic and development change
  • Ethnic and cultural and institutional and kinship differences in understanding in managing ageing and elderly care
  • Ageing societies, Europe and crisis in the EU – the generational implications of migration and refugee crises (and Brexit/separatisms)
  • Ageing, generational change, critical pedagogy and the reconception of life-long learning in the life course

Call for Papers

Contributors are invited to suggest papers or more non-traditional presentations and posters that contribute to our understanding of the making, breaking and remaking of cultural difference and social solidarity in contemporary societies where generational difference is a key factor. Whether polished or provisional, you should aim to occupy a slot of 20 minutes maximum, though shorter contributions are welcomed. They might settle upon one of the themes identified as challenges above, or provide case studies of particular struggles, or suggest a different challenge altogether. The conference will be organised around paper/non-traditional presentations, but with a heavy emphasis on the value of discussion as well as exposition. CDSS believe that open discussion serves to enrich presenters’ papers, themes and emerging ideas. It is anticipated that publishing opportunities, for selected papers, will emerge from the workshop. Selection would be on the basis of quality and cohesion of papers and not the status of paper-givers.

There is a rolling programme of considering and accepting paper proposals, as they are submitted, so as to facilitate those who need to apply for funding.


MONDAY, JULY 9, 2018 

10.00 – "Ethnicity, race and old age: a new research agenda" | Sandra Torres | lecture | Room 107

Lecture in English

The starting point of this keynote address is the current theoretical deficit in which social gerontology finds itself as far as understandings of ethnicity and race are concerned; a deficit that is in focus in a soon to be published book entitled ‘Ethnicity & Old Age: Expanding our Imagination’ (by Policy Press in 2019). By bringing attention to how scholarly interest for the intersection between ethnicity/ race and aging/ old age was originally generated, and by alluding to what characterizes research on this intersection at present, this presentation will critically appraise the understandings of ethnicity and race that inform this scholarship. In doing so, it will be argued not only that this scholarship’s understandings have stagnated, but also that a shift from essentialism to constructivism is needed if we are to expand our imagination in migration-astute and racialization-informed ways.

14.30 – "Grey Is the New Black?: Sexing the Third Age” | Paul Reynolds | lecture | Room 107

Lecture in English

A combination of factors have resulted in a growing recognition that the over 50’s – and indeed pensioners – are sexual. These include: consequential questioning with the erosion of social and sexual pathologies around different identities and practices: new technologies and pharmaceutical interventions; evidence of sexual engagement and growing problems in, for example STD transmission; the influence of changed commodification and consumption both by and aimed at older people; changes and extensions to life course and life expectancy (in Europe and North America and parts of Australiasia). This is beginning to produce both new concerns (proliferations of STD infections) but also new opportunities in sexing the ‘third age’. In this discussion I want to speculate on a ‘manifesto’ for sexing the third age (over 50’s) that accounts for a number of key features: sexual pathologies and prejudices and the impact of desexualisation; oppressive sexual stereotypes for older peoples and intergenerational relationships; the imprint of hetero-patriachial and hetero-normative cultures; the possibilities offered by sexual difference; the drawing from feminist, anarchist and radical sexual critiques of a sexual ethics and politics of the ‘third age'.

16.00– Workshops for seniors | Room 12

Workshops in Polish

Part I – Care services for seniors

Part II – Seniors in the media

Plenary Speakers

Sandra Torres is a leading social gerontologists in Europe. She holds both a Professorship in Sociology and the Chair in Social Gerontology at Uppsala University as well as a Guest Professorship in Aging at Linköping University. She was awarded the European Research Area on Aging Network´s (ERA-AGE) FLARE-fellowships. She is also one of the scientific experts who investigate quality within elderly care in order to formulate the new policy on aging that Sweden will adopt.

Paul Reynolds is co-founder and co-director of CDSS and co-convenor of the International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics. His research and writing focuses on sexual ethics and politics, the relationship between sexual consent, sexual literacy and sexual well-being in its diverse forms, and the problems of sexual law, legitimacy and citizenship. He is a Reader in Sociology and Social Philosophy at Edge Hill University and Visiting Professor at the University of Gent

About Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network

CDSS is an international network focused broadly on fostering collaboration and debate around the broad issues of difference and solidarity in human societies. The network organizes periodic conferences, and seminars and collaborative projects – see www.differenceandsolidarity.org. It has a particular interest in supporting international research collaboration, and encouraging younger researchers entering the international stage. The network works towards the development of trans-disciplinary and trans-national understandings of, and, interventions in, questions of solidarity and difference. After a successful first collaboration in September 2015, we are pleased to work in partnership again with the 'Between Transnational Mobility and Locality' Research Group, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, II Faculty of Psychology, Wrocław, Poland, who will host the conference.

Conference Fees

The conference fees:

  • Waged/Full time Faculty – 100 Euros
  • Postgraduates/Part-time Faculty – 80 Euros

A brief guide to accessible and reasonably priced accommodation that delegates can book for the event will be provided soon.

The fees include:

  • conference pack
  • administration
  • refreshments
  • 2 lunches
  • dinner and reception on July 9th


  • Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network
  • 'Between Transnational Mobility and Locality' Research Group from SWPS University, Wrocław Faculty of Psychology

Organizing Committee

  • Dr Agnieszka Bielewska, Lecturer and 'Between Transnational Mobility and Locality' Research Group, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Faculty of Psychology, Wroclaw, Poland
    e-mail: abielewska@swps.edu.pl
  • Paul Reynolds, Reader in Sociology and Social Philosophy, Edge Hill University, UK (and co-director, CDSS)
    e-mail: reynoldp@edgehill.ac.uk

Date and Location

SWPS University in Wrocław

Aleksandra Ostrowskiego 30b

Lectures: room 107 | Workshops: room 12


Dr. Agnieszka Bielewska

e-mail: abielewska@swps.edu.pl

mobile: +48 721 473 644


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