Age Negotiation and Active Bodies at Senior Camps in Sweden

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 42 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Janicke ANDERSSON, CASE, Sweden
Lisa EKSTAM, CASE, Sweden
Since the beginning of 2000 senior camps have been established on several places in Sweden, with the purpose to decrease social exclusion and improve health amongst elderly people. These senior camps build on notions of what it means to age and to ”be old” in relation to activity, health, functional abilities and participation in society. In a cross-scientific and holistic study at CASE, Lund University these senior camps have been studied from three perspectives 1) History of ideas: What is the cultural meaning of senior camps?. 2) Ethnology: How is age made visible and important at senior camps? 3) Occupational Science: What are the individual social and health aspects of the senior camp? In this presentation we focus on findings from part study 2, that is, how age is performed and made meaningful at senior camps. The data consists of ethnographical field notes collected from two central senior camps. We are going to show examples of  how and when the participators use “age negotiation” and “perform age” in social relations at senior camps and discuss how this negotiation can be interpreted relative to societal norms about older people and health and what is considered “age appropriate”; but also how the seniors use age performance to object to images of older people or to claim their independence. In the perfomance of age the body and functionality becomes central and bodies are compared, evaluated and discussed in relation to age and ageing.