Unsettling aging futures: Challenging colonial-normativity in social gerontology

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May Chazan


This article explores the stories of two women activists, both in their mid to later lives, both grandmothers, and both Indigenous to what is now Canada. Both women participated in intergenerational storytelling research in 2017, as part of a multiyear (2016–2020) oral history project. The article brings their stories into dialogue with critical writings on “successful aging” discourse and notions of “happy aging futures” while also reaching beyond gerontology to examine related work by Indigenous scholars in other fields. In doing so, it challenges the ongoing colonial-normativity of interrelated gerontological conceptualizations of generativity and futurity, building on existing efforts to queer and crip these concepts. It ultimately contributes to efforts to understand complexity among multiple aging experiences, opening possibilities of livable and positive futures among those who do not identify with dominant images of wealthy, physically fit older couples with grandchildren.


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