European Sociological Association Conference, Murcia, Spain Sept 23-26 2003


At Murcia, the Ageing in Europe Research Network will hold paper sessions that focus on empirical and also theoretical and conceptual aspects of research on ageing. These sessions will continue some of the discussions that started in Helsinki but some new themes have been added. The RN is now calling for proposals for papers, for the eight sessions of our Ageing in Europe stream.

In case you need additional information (e.g., if you are not sure whether your paper fits with the topic of a session), please contact the RN co-ordinators.

1. Ageing Societies and the Welfare State in a Comparative Perspective

This session is concerned with the ageing of societies, how this relates to welfare state systems, and the impact of individual ageing in European societies as a multilevel phenomenon to be analysed in a comparative perspective. Papers may discuss the ageing of societies as a challenge for modern welfare systems; compare service systems and the use of services; consider the relationship of welfare states to other societal institutions such as the family, social networks and voluntary institutions; or compare welfare state reforms relevant to ageing and the development of old age. The focus of this session is on comparative approaches that help to conceptualise the complex multilevel structure of societies or provide empirical analysis on ageing and the welfare state or consider methodological aspects.

2. Challenges of Globalisation for Ageing Societies

This session will include examining the utility of the idea of globalisation for studies of ageing, especially for rethinking strategies for political and cultural inclusion in later life and how to empower older people, in both developed and developing countries. Does globalisation imply a new political economy of ageing?

3. Ageing, Diversity and Social Inequality

The individual ageing process is socially divided according to several dimensions such as gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and disability. The ageing of societies has also an impact on institutional structures, the extent of diversity and inequality, and how these are measured. This session could include papers on disability rights and equality; ageing and vulnerability patterns; otherness, diversity and exclusion.

4. Labour Markets and Retirement

Transitions in midlife between employment and retirement have become de-institutionalised - with fuzzy boundaries and flexible timing, but this may be more so for some social groups, and countries, than others. Papers in this session could address - growing diversity in retirement experiences; age discrimination legislation; flexible employment options; the gender divide in pension and retirement options; work-family conflicts in midlife; policies concerned with raising the effective age of retirement; insecurity of older workers' employment.

5. Caring Relationships, Services and Health

This session is concerned with developments in caring relationships, including both informal care and statutory/voluntary service systems, how each of these sources of care relates to the health, wellbeing, social networks and autonomy of older people, and the social policy implications of changes in the caring mix.

6. Alternative Discourses of Ageing

This session considers the different 'voices' surrounding ageing, including papers on the phenomenon and discourse of the Third Age (identity and consumption) and the Fourth Age (differentiation according to health and dependency); the discourses of policymakers/service providers and of users; discourse and power inequality; the views of older people; the social construction of age through discourse.

7. Families, Ageing and Intergenerational Relationships

 (joint session with Families RN) Living arrangements and relationships with family members across generations are closely bound up with ageing. Papers in this session could consider emerging family forms; expectations of relationships with family and friends and how these influence identity and status; value differences between generations and according to gender, class and ethnicity; conflicting demands on family members in relation to gender, class and ethnicity; transfers of economic, practical and emotional support between generations; impact of new family forms and relationships on support between generations.

8. Quality of Life in Old Age: the UK Growing Older Programme (organiser: Alan Walker)

This session will explore quality of life among older people and papers exploring conceptual and methodological issues and those reporting older participants' own perspectives would be particularly welcome.

This Call for Papers is also published on the Ageing in Europe website:



An abstract of about 150-250 words should be sent to the relevant RN co-ordinators by Feb 28th 2003. We will notify acceptance of papers by April 30th 2003.


Registration should be made on the form at:

Please note that a reduced rate conference fee is available for those registering by June 15th 2003. More information concerning the conference will be available on the same website.

Jay Ginn Andreas Motel-Klingebiel Ricca Edmondson Joint co-ordinators, Ageing Research Network