Aging and migration
The numbers of immigrants entering old age are increasing throughout north-west Europe. The increase is partly due to the fact that individuals, who were young adults in the labour immigration phase around 1970, have now become pensioners. With old age and illness, new issues arise for individuals, their families, and the states in which they live.
The last decade has witnessed major growth in social scientific research at the intersection of ageing and migration. This effort has been led both by socio-gerontologists and by scholars in migration studies. The extent to which this body of work can be described as cultivating an inter-disciplinary dialogue is however open to discussion. This keynote presentation will begin by outlining the current state of the art in the ageing-migration nexus.
It will then assess the scope for genuine inter-disciplinary learning across the social and socio-gerontological sciences. Several domains will be highlighted where migration studies may advance by considering the study of older people, and vice versa, where gerontology may advance by considering migrant perspectives. Theoretically, by building better explanations through reference to the perspectives of older people and migrants respectively.
Methodologically, by mainstreaming approaches which foreground the ‘lifecourse’ (for migration studies) and ‘diversity’ (for gerontology). And conceptually, by advocating an end to the unhelpful ‘silo thinking’ which treats internal and international migration separately. Some of these points will be developed from research presented in my recent monograph Retirement Home? Ageing Migrant Workers in France and the Question of Return (Springer 2018).