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Perspectives on Productive Aging (Spring School)

Age(ing) is one of the (biological) basic conditions of human life. As a stage of life and as a phase of life, aging is at the same time a social and cultural construction through which everyday life, social contexts and biographical perspectives are structured. Attitudes toward old age and older people enter into the entire social rules as unconscious basic assumptions and are culturally shaped: from language and historical tradition to literary and art-media forms of expression, the structural forms of living together and social group formation, and even action in economic contexts. The concept of productivity plays a key role in this process, which is interpreted in terms of loss and decay.

Together we will discuss the following basic question: How are the concepts of "productive aging" (for individuals, different social groups and societies) reflected in philosophical texts and literature, artistic artifacts, historical documents, quantitative and qualitative research? The international Spring School takes place in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Heiner Fangerau (History of Medicine), Prof. Dr. Ulla Kriebernegg (Graz, English Studies), Prof. Dr. Giovanna Pinna (Molise, German Studies/Philosophy), Prof. Dr. Jaco Zujderduijn (Lund, Social and Economic Historian). There is thus a unique opportunity to discuss the exciting and highly topical field of aging research with renowned international experts in this field, as well as with students of art history, medical history, German and English studies from the various participating countries. The aim of the event is to intensively discuss and analyze both the objects and the sources and texts that shape our image of aging and our stereotypes of old age and therefore prevent us from thinking about other ways of dealing with old age. The discussions are intended to contribute to a critical reflection on the subject of "age(s)" in society and to open up new perspectives on the consideration of images, texts and objects from the late Middle Ages to the present.

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