Doing Age in Kulturorganisationen – Ein praxeologischer Blick auf Altersbilder in der kulturellen Bildung

Translated title of the contribution: Doing age in cultural organizations—a praxeological approach towards ageing in cultural education

Vera Gallistl, V. Parisot, Julia Birke

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

2 Citations (Scopus)


Demographic change not only prolongs life expectancy of individuals, it also changes the meaning of age and ageing itself. While old age was long characterized as a life-stage of social disengagement and health decline, European policies increasingly put an emphasis on active ageing, promoting the social and cultural engagement of older adults. Lifelong learning and cultural engagement become cornerstones of active ageing imperatives. However, cultural education for older adults as a means to support cultural engagement in later life has hardly been researched or publicly discussed. While older adults are increasingly expected to engage in learning in later life, educational and cultural organizations hardly attend to this expectation. This paper presents results of the project “Barriers to Cultural Education in Old Age—‘Mainstreaming Ageing’ in Cultural Organizations (2016–2018)”. Based on six case studies in cultural education programs for older adults, we examine which implicit images of ageing are conveyed through these programs. Using situational analysis and a doing-perspective on age and ageing, we explore how images of ageing and the social positions of older participants within the programs are negotiated. Further, we ask how such programs could serve as a means of empowerment in old age and which role cultural engagement and creativity play in older adults’ empowerment. Results indicate that research on cultural education for older adults could benefit from a practice-theoretical approach, as it allows researchers to explore how images of ageing are set into practice through various actors in cultural organizations. Cultural education in old age is a field of socialization and subjectification, in which older adults learn how to behave according to their age. Implementing “mainstreaming ageing” in cultural organizations in order to establish more age-inclusive programs and initiatives calls for a critical reflection on which images and ideas of ageing are negotiated through existing programs.

Translated title of the contributionDoing age in cultural organizations—a praxeological approach towards ageing in cultural education
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
JournalOsterreichische Zeitschrift fur Soziologie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 05 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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