AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists   
Type: Paper
Paper Title: THE CIRCULATION OF GLOBAL AGING THROUGH SOCIAL INTERVENTION WORK
Author: ALEXANDRA CRAMPTON (Marquette University)   
Date/Time: Wed., 12:15 PM
Co-Author(s): ALEXANDRA CRAMPTON (Marquette University) 
Abstract: Population aging as global problem circulates through international conferences, policy discourse, and interventions that “do good.” Complex social realities of growing older are universalized primarily through demographic statistics. Chronological age marks the boundary of who is old while sparking debate over which number to choose. The seemingly objective reality of numbers legitimizes common identification of problems and solutions. The products of aging discourse, such as policy documents, provide access to international networks of development, aid, and social service work. The validation and translation of population aging statistics into national policy and social service work also brings global discourse into local practice. Local realities are then shaped through policy and project implementation as they also challenge and reshape global agendas. This process was examined through a sixteen-month ethnographic study that followed the concept of who is old in the contexts of social intervention work both through international networks and local project implementation in Ghana and the United States. Study sites included an international aging conference held in Ghana and elder advocacy projects in each county. The focus on circulating ideas counters the problem-solving trope typically used in formal policy and program evaluation. This shifts ethnographic questions away from policy and program evaluation on their own terms, and towards understanding how old age as social problem circulates in the face of more complex local realities. Study of project implementation, for example, includes how global aging is made useful by policy and social entrepreneurs with and without support from targeted beneficiaries.

Program Number: 1-0090
Session Title: DISCOURSE, ENGAGEMENT, AND ETHNOGRAPHY: TOPICS IN LOCAL AND GLOBAL PRACTICE
Session Sponsor: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Wed., 12:00 PM-1:45 PM
Organizer(s): ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM COMMITTEE (AAA) 
Chair(s): RICARDO CONTRERAS  
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