Anthropology & Aging

Anthropology & Aging is the official journal of the Association for Anthropology, Gerontology, and the Life Course (AAGE), a nonprofit organization established in 1978 as a multidisciplinary group dedicated to the exploration and understanding of aging within and across the diversity of human cultures. 

 Association for Anthropology, Gerontology and the Life Course


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Our perspective today remains holistic, comparative, and international. We are particularly interested in manuscripts that have cross-disciplinary appeal, that present cutting-edge research and bring creative and stimulating insight to aging studies and the human condition across the life course. Our journal strives to advance anthropological theory, whilst contributing to knowledge at the intersection of anthropology and gerontology. 


Cortney Hughes Rinker (George Mason University)

Henrik Mikkelsen (University of Copenhagen)

Book Reviews Editor
Christine Verbruggen (KU Leuven)

Editorial Assistant
Janis Woodward (George Mason University)

Editorial Advisory Board

Steven Albert (University of Pittsburgh)
Leslie Carlin (University of Toronto, Canada)
Jason Danely (Oxford Brookes University, UK)
Howie Giles (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Lori L. Jervis (University of Oklahoma)
Rebecca E. Johnson (Northwestern University) Philip Kao (University of Pittsburgh)
Sarah Lamb (Brandeis University)
Dawn Lehman (Northern Arizona University)
Annette Leibing (Université de Montreal, Canada)
Mark Luborsky (Wayne State University)
Caitrin Lynch (Olin College)
Athena McLean (Central Michigan University)
Jon Nussbaum (Pennsylvania State University)
Bjarke Oxlund (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Margaret Perkinson (University of Hawaii, Mānoa)
Jason Powell (University of Chester) 
Dena Shenk (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Samantha Solimeo (CADRE, Iowa City VA Medical Center)
Nanami Suzuki (Graduate University of Advanced Studies/National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan) 



Be Sure to Check out these Research Articles in the Next Issue of Anthropology & Aging 41(1), Feb/March 2020


Debating “Good” Care: The Challenges of Dementia Care in Shanghai, China

Yan Zhang

The increasing number of dementia sufferers in China has transformed dementia care from a private issue to a public concern. Nationwide dementia-friendly campaigns have intensified debates about what constitutes “good” care. In response to these campaigns, the Shanghai government proposes a systematic care model, which stresses the need for dementia-care units and professionalization. Non-state actors, however, focus on the relational care model, which integrates western humanitarian ethics with Confucian values. This article employs cultural and structural frameworks to examine why and how a specific form of “good” care is constructed in China. The debates about the establishment of dementia-care units and the professionalization of eldercare enable us to understand how politics shape certain forms of care.

Dancing while Aging: A Study on Benefits of Ballet for Older Women

Rachyl Pines, University of California Santa Barbara

Howard Giles, University of California Santa Barbara

As people age, experiences of depression, loneliness and loss of physical capabilities can emerge. As with previous work on the benefits of music as an intervention for social belonging and valued social identity, dance may increase similar feelings. Although theoretical chapters have been written on dance as it relates to social identity, belonging, and health, little empirical work has been conducted on the benefits of ballet as a recreational activity for older adults. The study reported here is framed by the “communication ecology model of successful aging,” and modestly embellishes this framework based on this study’s findings. Using interviews from 24 American female recreational ballet dancers ranging in age from 23-87 in a small West Coast town, this study investigates, for the first time, how ballet is incorporated into their self-concept and physical, mental, and social experiences of aging. Findings indicate that participating regularly in ballet is a core aspect of most women’s self-concept and means of self-expression. All women discussed how ballet has improved their physical and mental wellness, helping them have a more positive experience of age-related changes. Results showed that most women regard ballet as a very social activity, such that it helps them to feel a sense of community or even kin-like relationships with the other people regularly in class. All women interviewed mentioned that ballet is so integrated into who they are that it is something they hope to do for as long as possible.

Caring through Sound and Silence: Technology and the Sound of Everyday Life in Homes for the Elderly

Carla Greubel, Maastricht University

Literature on sounds inside institutions has shown that sounds are indispensable to the working of hospitals, schools, prisons, and other institutional environments. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in three eldercare homes in Germany this article suggests that the more permanent care context of institutional homes for the elderly compared to a hospital setting is decisive for people’s interpretation of and engagement with sounds. This is true at multiple levels, such as “monitory listening,” the use of “music as a technology of self,” or sounds as a tool of care. In fact, in this long-term care context even silences prompt action. Based on their experience with individual residents, for example, caregivers can direct their monitory listening not only to existing sounds, but also to the silence of expected but absent sounds. Throughout the article, additional consideration is given to the role of the technologies that produce the sounds, showing how in their design and functioning they shape, complement or prevent people’s attention to sound and silence. Finally, I propose that research is needed that goes beyond an understanding of silence as a healing environment for the vulnerable and sick and instead attends to the complexity of this acoustic event within the context of eldercare homes.

Posted: 2020-01-23
More Announcements...

Vol 40, No 2 (2019)

Guest Edited by Henrik Hvenegaard Mikkelsen, Nete Schwennesen, and Aske Juul Lassen

Table of Contents


Henrik Hvenegaard Mikkelsen, Nete Schwennesen, Aske Juul Lassen
Nete Schwennesen
Aske Juul Lassen
Henrik Hvenegaard Mikkelsen
Michael Andersen

Research Reports

Magdalena Zegarra Chiappori
Carrie Ryan


Janis Woodward, Brandan Culbert

Book Reviews

Kristin Elizabeth Yarris
Nele Wolter
Jeremy Cohen
Erika Carrillo
Casey Golomski
Richard Zimmer
Claudia Huang