About this Research Topic
Several parallels between age, gender, and sexuality lend themselves to combining critical gerontology with queer theory: sexuality and age are not static and ‘natural’, but change over the life course; performing a coherent older, gendered/sexual self is crucial for being culturally intelligible; and the embodiment of age, gender, and sexuality is an ongoing negotiation of corporeality, social construction, and discourse. By combining critical gerontology and queer theory, it is possible to interrogate the normativities and structures that shape social perspectives on experiences of ageing and later life, including heteronormative structures within gerontology itself.
Queer ageing is still a relatively young and uncharted research terrain. The innovative potential of queer ageing lies in making visible the lives of marginalized older people and in incorporating their experiences and subversive practices as new narratives into existing images of ageing. This can contribute to new images of ageing that move away from polarized notions of later life as individualized success and biological and social decline. Queer ageing also calls in question heteronormative assumptions about later-life social support and care and how they are engrained in social policy.
This Research Topic aims to create a community of scholars in the fields of queer ageing, critical gerontology, medical sociology and LGBTQI* studies from around the world. Its central goals are to queer ageing and reveal counter-narratives of ageing that transgress the boundaries of heterosexuality, normative life course models, and successful ageing by offering alternative temporalities and relationalities in later life. In doing so, the Research Topic will contribute to the advancement of critical gerontology and introduce this emergent and yet important theoretical approach to ageing studies at large.
We invite submissions from researchers across the social sciences and humanities that are theoretical or use diverse methodologies that make a contribution to queering ageing. Contributions are invited on any topic that meets our central goals, but suggested topics include:
- contribution of queer ageing to the study of later life and ageing
- queer theory’s turn to negativity and embracing shame as a way of deconstructing ageist discourses and opening perspectives on subversion and change
- performativity of age, gender and sexuality and notions of failure: consequences for self
- global perspectives on queer ageing including comparisons of welfare regimes
- queer concepts in the field of long-term care and nursing with respect to diversity and biographies
- queering connections between capitalism/economic and social class systems and older age
- medicalization of sexualities and age.
Keywords: ageing studies, queer theory, LGBTQI*, life course, temporality
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.