HISTORIZING THE AGING SELF
Literature, Medicine, Psychology, Law.
This project aims to produce new knowledge about subjective and symbolic aspects of late life in different contexts, and thus contribute to a broader understanding of the cultural and scientific assumptions underlying past and present paradigms of ageing from early to late modernity in Western societies.
Based on mostly literary, but also medical, psychological, and legal discourses, it provides detailed exemplifications of the psychologies, philosophies, and rhetoric’s of senescence, especially regarding shifting concepts of selfhood and identity. Accordingly, it examines changing criteria for defining the various phases within late life in terms of the psychological, medical, social, and legal status of the older person.
Contributing in this way to a cultural history of the ageing self, the project aims to heighten awareness of the divergent conceptions of old age that exist side by side in today’s multicultural society, their continuities, and discontinuities under the pressures of globalization and mass-mediatization. This project’s interdisciplinary approach to ageing is rooted in the humanities, especially in literary studies and cultural history, but will also draw on gerontology, medicine, psychology, and law. It will thus give a fresh and socially relevant focus to issues pertaining to the humanities and SAMKUL aims to generate new knowledge about the cultural dimensions of current social challenges.
The project aims to contribute to the renewal of literary studies through cross-disciplinary approaches to human existence.