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Aging and creativity: the implications of globalization and transnationalism for our understanding of communities

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Aging and creativity: the implications of globalization and transnationalism for our understanding of communities shared values Sandra Torres, Ph.D. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Aging and creativity: the implications of globalization and transnationalism for our understanding of communities


1
Aging and creativity the implications
of globalization and transnationalism for our
understanding of communities shared values
  • Sandra Torres, Ph.D.
  • Professor of Sociology Chair in Social
    Gerontology
  • (Uppsala University, Sweden)
  • Guest Professor (NISAL- Linköping University,
    Sweden)
  • Adjunct Professor in Rehabilitation Aging
  • (Oslo Akerhus University College of Applied
    Sciences, Norway)
  • Short presentation at the
  • AHRC Network Meeting on
  • July 13th 2012 in Keele, UK.

2
This presentation will address the following
questions
  • What do we know about different cultures
    understandings of aging?
  • How is our understanding of place influence on
    communities shared values affected by the
    globalization of international migration?
  • What does all of this suggest about our
    understanding of creativity in old age?

3
Research on understandings of aging has shown
  • That there are cultural differences in the way in
    which aging as a process, and old age as a stage
    of life, are understood.
  • Some cultures such as those found in highly
    industrialized parts of the Western world take
    for granted that aging can be delayed
  • In these parts of the world old age is perceived
    to be a stage of the life-course associated with
    decline.
  • Other cultures such as those found in less
    industrialized parts of the world and often in
    the Eastern parts of the world regard aging as
    a process that cannot be delayed (and one that
    few would want to delay either)
  • In these parts of the world old age is perceived
    to be a stage of the life-course associated with
    wisdom and higher status.
  • Research shows also that migration from one place
    to another (and it is mostly migration from East
    to West that has been studied) lead to having
    ones understandings of aging and old age be
    challenged.
  • These differences are bound to have relevance to
    the way in which creativity in old age is
    understood.
  • BUT, surprisingly enough, there seems to be no
    research on cultural understandings of creativity
    and also on whether or not different
    understandings of aging and old age are
    associated with different understandings of
    creativity.

4
  • an adequate understanding of social life,
    social relations, identity and experience can no
    longer be derived from an analysis limited in
    scope to society, particularly when the latter
    is conceptualized as equivalent to the
    geopolitical order of the modern nation-state
    (Smart 1993 135).

5
Globalization challenges, in other words, the way
in which we conceive culture (and its
relationship to place and community) because
  • the equation national location easily
    discernable cultural values is no longer as
    straightforward as it used to be
  • studying the national by going to a specific
    locality is becoming more difficult
  • culture homogeneity within national boundaries
    can no longer be taken for granted
  • inter-cultural differences are not as easily
    tangible
  • intra-cultural differences are becoming augmented
  • making cross-cultural comparisons is becoming
    more difficult

6
  • the autonomy and boundness of cultures must
    nowadays be understood as a matter of degree
    (Hannerz 1992 261).

7
What does the globalization of intl. migration
mean?
  • The migration stock (world-wide) has increased
    dramatically over the past decades.
  • 75 million people migrated in 1965
  • 120 million in 1990
  • Intl. migration flows have changed the ethnic
    composition of all highly industrialized
    societies.
  • Social scientists have therefore started to
    understand that intl. migration is a social
    phenomenon they need to reckon with
  • Among the new tendencies we are observing we
    find
  • The feminization of migration
  • The differentiation of migration
  • Larger variation in migration motives and types
    of migration patterns
  • Larger number of older people that migrate.

8
  • migration plays namely a key part in most
    contemporary social transformations. Migration is
    both a result of global change and a powerful
    source for further change in migrant-sending and
    receiving-societies. Its immediate impacts are
    felt on the economic level, but it also affects
    social relations, culture, national politics and
    international relations. Migration inevitably
    leads to greater ethno-cultural diversity within
    nation-states, transforming identities and
    blurring traditional boundaries (Castles 2000
    124).

9
  • its not just that, increasingly, many people
    have no roots its also that they have no soil
    (King 1991 6).

10
Globalization challenges the way in which we
think about migration because
  • Assumptions re sending and receiving
    countries are no longer as useful
  • The distinction between permanent and
    temporary settler is becoming obsolete
  • The differences between immigrants and
    refugees are no longer as clear-cut
  • The phenomenon of transnationalism is no longer
    rare
  • a new kind of migrant has been created (i.e.
    transnational migrants)
  • Transnational lifestyles are characterized by
  • The hybridization of culture
  • The Here-or-There has been replaced with
    Here-and-There
  • Either-Or has been replaced with Both-And

11
  • Over the next three decades, if we are to
    understand the material, social and welfare
    circumstances of (older) people, it will
    increasingly be necessary to have knowledge of
    their biographies or individual life courses, for
    neither their country of residence nor their
    birth dates or last occupation will be as
    reliable predictors of their social and
    experiential positions as they were in the recent
    past (Warnes 2006 217)

12
What does this means for the study of creativity
in later life?
  • Cultural values are bound to have impact in the
    way in which creativity in old age is understood
    and also on the creative practices on which
    people engage.
  • But the impact may not necessarily be as
    clear-cut as we may imagine. There are namely
    degrees of cultures as Hannerz has shown.
  • Migrant populations should not be disregarded as
    we embark on studies of creativity in old age.
  • These populations are interesting sources of
    information about different understandings of
    creativity in later life,
  • Migrants creative practices may also be
    different
  • Hence that both the WHAT of creativity and the
    HOW of it could be interesting to explore from
    the perspectives that migrants offer.
  • The hybridity of culture (and the
    being-in-between cultures) mentioned earlier
    challenges understandings of constructs that are
    key to our understanding of aging (such as
    well-being, QoL, life satisfaction and successful
    aging)
  • Understandings of creativity in old age as well
    as creative practices may also be challenged by
    this hybridity.
  • Our understandings of cultures implications for
    creativity need therefore to take into account
    the way in which the globalization of
    international migration is challenging how we
    think about place and community.

13
  • THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION!!
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