Construction of Aging in Contemporary Russia

By: Julia Zelikova  

This project is devoted to analyze the narratives of older people about individual experiences of age and aging, about what it means to be older person in Russia. The main aim of the project is to reveal the cultural stereotypes associated with older people in Russia and to understand how it is possible to resist ageist cultural assumptions. The project’s hypothesis is old age in Russian culture is constructed as a contradiction of young age. Therefore, older people are prohibited from associating with youth. This primarily relates to love and sex relations. Russian society considers older people as asexual humans, who do not need anything other than food and medicine. These stereotypes cause loneliness of older people. The theoretical approach of the project is critical theory which investigates the issues of power and control in contemporary society. The issues raised have focused primarily on the ideological and socially constructive features of age conceptualizations. The empirical part of the project consists of thirty in-depth narrative interviews with people over sixty-five years. The interviews are devoted to issues of loneliness in old age, patterns of behavior, which Russian society prescribes to older people. In addition to analysis of interviews, the project involves the analysis of cultural narratives from Internet blogs and journalist’s texts devoted to age and aging in contemporary Russia. Starting with the premise that age does not flow from the individual’s anatomical body, the project, using cultural narratives, analyzes the way age identity is constructed in contemporary Russian society.

Aging, Agism, Construction of Aging
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Julia Zelikova

Assistant Professor, Department of Comporative Political Studies, Russian Presedential Academy of National Economics and Public Administration, Russian Federation
Russian Federation