Bringing Ageing to Life: A Comparative Study of Age Categories




Ageing, Technology, Japan, Uganda, Comparative, Migration, Life course


This article offers a comparative ethnographic study of ageing as both category and experience. Drawing on simultaneous 16-month ethnographies conducted as part of the ASSA project, we focus on how ageing is being re-defined in eight contexts around the world, with particular focus on the authors’ field sites: rural and urban settings in both Japan and Uganda. Despite being among the world’s oldest and youngest populations, respectively, there are various affinities in both ethnographies of age and technology use related to the reconfiguration of family-care norms across distances. This shared finding informs the articulation of age categories, which we found to be negotiated in line with established intergenerational expectations and family roles. This paper is illustrated with ethnographic examples of how people redefine ageing in context and in turn bring ‘age’ to life, demonstrating the social significance of age categories.


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Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Aging