The “Coming of Age”: Cultural Construction of Age(ing)

„Aufbruch ins Alter“ – Kulturen des Alter(n)s

Die Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung veranstaltet gemeinsam mit der US-Botschaft und dem British Council einen Kongress zum Thema The"Coming of Age": Cultural Construction of Age(ing) - "Aufbruch ins Alter"-Kulturen des Alter(n)s.


While Western societies are getting older, we are still obsessed with trying to stay young. Age tends to be what is postponed and neglected. Trends like anti-ageing and wellness maintain an ideal of dynamic progress and youth. Despite an obvious demographic change our cultures lack positive visions of an ageing society.

This attitude has been challenged recently: Individuals, business and governments are beginning to discover the demographic change as an opportunity. Initiatives of senior citizens offer their expertise, businesses respond with innovative products and creative ways to design home and city environments; advertising is

beginning to represent ageing with joy, beauty, and fulfillment.

Old age has been represented in the arts and media over time, images and stories have informed the attitude vis-à-vis the older generation. Old versus young have been reflected through paintings and photography, through literature and film. Different cultures imply the cultural meaning of age in a variety of ways. Written and oral narratives document and shape the individual as well

as the social perception of one’s changing role in life. The international and interdisciplinary approach will open up new perspectives on the cultural and personal construction of age and develop visions of an ageing society.

Die Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung veranstaltet gemeinsam mit der US-Botschaft und dem British Council einen Kongress zum Thema The"Coming of Age": Cultural Construction of Age(ing) - "Aufbruch ins Alter"-Kulturen des Alter(n)s. Namhafte Wissenschaftler aus den USA, Großbritannien und Deutschland stellen ihre Forschungsergebnisse vor und werfen einen internationalen gestaltenden Blick in die Zukunft alternder Gesellschaften. In der Abendveranstaltung am 07.09.2006 wird ein Diavortrag von Robert Fass gezeigt, im Anschluss findet eine Autorenlesung mit Paul Bailey statt.


Thursday, 7 September 2006




  • Wilhelm Staudacher

    General Secretary of Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation

  • Peter R. Claussen

    Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the United States of America

  • Dr. Patrick Hart

    Deputy Director of the British Council Germany

Cultural Construction of Age and Ageing

Kulturelle Konstruktion des Alter(n)s

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Kunow

University of Potsdam


“Aged by Culture: Cultural Urgencies”

“Kulturbedingtes Altern: Kultureller Handlungsbedarf”

Prof. Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Ph.D.

Brandeis University


“Ageing and its Discontents: Women, Bodies, Generations”

“Das Unbehagen am Altern: Frauen, Körper, Generationen”

Prof. Kathleen Woodward, Ph.D.

University of Washington


“Perceptions of Age(ing)”

“Wahrnehmungen des Alter(n)s”



“Gender and Ageing: Have we forgotten Older Men?”

“Alter(n) und Geschlecht: Haben wir die alten Männer vergessen?“

Prof. Sara Arber, Ph.D.

University of Surrey


Panel on

“Personal vs. Cultural Scripts of Ageing”


“Individuelle bzw. kulturelle Entwürfe des Alterns”

  • Prof. Sara Arber, Ph.D.
  • Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Ph.D.
  • Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Kunow
  • Prof. Kathleen Woodward, Ph.D.


Dr. Heike Hartung

University of Greifswald


Reception / Empfang


Slide Show: “As Long As We Both Shall Live”

Diavortrag "Bis dass der Tod uns scheidet”

Robert Fass

Photographer, New York


Reading: “Uncle Rudolph”, a novel

Autorenlesung: “Uncle Rudolph”, Roman

Paul Bailey

Writer and Broadcaster, London

Friday, 8 September 2006

Learning and Unlearning to grow old – The Art of Meaningful Ageing

(Ver)Lernen, alt zu werden – Die Kunst des sinnerfüllten Alterns

Moderation: Dr. Melinda Crane



“The Place of Older People in the Cultural History of Europe”

“Der Platz älterer Menschen in der europäischen Kulturgeschichte“

Prof. Pat Thane, Ph.D.

Institute of Historical Research, London


“The Power of Life Stories”

“Die Kraft des Erzählens“

Kathryn de Medeiros, Ph.D.

Copper Ridge Institute, Maryland


Discussion with Pat Thane and Kathryn de Medeiros

Visions of Ageing Societies

Zukunftsvisionen alternder Gesellschaften

Moderation: NN


“Generational Justice in the context of Demographic Change“

"Generationengerechtigkeit im Kontext des demografischen Wandels"

Dr. Jutta Hoppe

Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (SRzG)


Panel on

“Visions of Ageing Societies”


“Zukunftsvisionen alternder Gesellschaften”

  • Prof. Dr. Gertrud Backes

    University of Kassel

  • Dr. Jutta Hoppe
  • Kathryn de Medeiros, Ph.D.
  • Philipp Missfelder MdB
  • Prof. Pat Thane, Ph.D.

“As Long As We Both Shall Live”,

Photographs by Robert Fass, New York


Dr. Barbara von Bechtolsheim

Embassy of the United States of America

Guido Jansen

British Council Germany

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Kunow

University of Potsdam

Dr. Andrea M. Schneider



Detha Degenhardt


Tel.: 030-26996-3518

oder detha.degenhardt@kas.de

Gigliola Grünig


Tel.: 030-26996-3236 oder gigliola.gruenig@kas.de


Public transportation: Bus number 100, 106, 187 or 200 to stop Nordische Botschaften/Adenauer-Stiftung

Zum Kalender hinzufügen


Akademie der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Tiergartenstraße 35, Berlin


  • Philipp Mißfelder MdB
    • Prof. Dr. Gertrud Backes
      • Prof. Margaret Morganroth Gullette
        • Ph.D.
      • Prof. Kathleen Woodward
        • Ph.D.
      • Prof. Sara Arber
        • Ph.D.
      • Prof. Pat Thane
        • Ph.D. und andere


      “The Coming of Age – Cultural Construction of Age(ing)”: Oder: Was haben Madonna, Paul McCartney und Konrad Adenauer gemeinsam?
      Jetzt lesen

      Dr. Andrea Schneider


      Leiterin Arbeitsgruppe Wirtschaftspolitik

      andrea.schneider@kas.de +49 30 26996-3516 +49 30 26996-3551