PhD defence: “Active ageing and the unmaking of old age: the knowledge productions, everyday practices and policies of the good late life”

PhD defence by Aske Juul Lassen, Center for Healthy Aging, Saxo Institute, September 26th 2014 at 2 pm, in room 21.0.54, KUA1, Njalsgade 120, DK-2300 Copenhagen S. The defence is open for public attendance.

Construction and effect of active ageing policies
Since the end of the 1990s, the European Union and the World Health Organization have proposed active ageing as the best possible solution to the problem of ageing populations. Aske Juul Lassen researches how active ageing policies are constructed, what effects they have in the world, and how they are negotiated with everyday practices of the elderly.

Ethnographic fieldwork and document studies
Aske Juul Lassen explores these topics via ethnographic fieldwork at two activity centres in the Copenhagen area, via document studies of policy papers and gerontological literature about the concept of activity, and via participation in a public-private innovation partnership that developed technologies catering to the active late life.

New forms of the good life
Active ageing promotes a specific ideal of the good late life that unmakes old age, but when this ideal becomes entangled with the everyday practices of the elderly, it is transformed in various ways. While active ageing may constitute an unmaking of old age, this is a generative unmaking that creates new forms of the good late life.

The need for a cultural analytical and ethnological approach
At the defence Aske Juul Lassen will show how local and culturally specific practices suggest alternative ways of ageing actively, which must be accounted for in the construction of active ageing policies. He proposes a model to think about ageing that calls for cultural analytical and ethnological ways of engaging in the design of the ageing society.

The dissertation can be found on the PhDs page or downloaded directly here.

Assessment committee

  • Sarah Lamb, Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University
  • Lotte Huniche, Associate Professor at the Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
  • Klaus Lindgaard Højer, Professor at the Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen (chair)