Authors: Sanjukta Mukherjee*, DePaul University, Department of Women's & Gender Studies
Topics: Gender, Economic Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Age, Aging, Elderly, Care, Transnational, Migration, Transnational Feminism, Neoliberalism, India
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Contemporary processes of neoliberal globalization, migration, and attendant restructuring of the family is transforming the experiences of the elderly, notions of care and new meanings of aging are being constructed and negotiated. The elderly population in India is trapped within opposing narratives of loneliness, neglect and abandonment on one hand and resilience and success through digital and economic inclusion into new markets on the other. This research centers the lived experiences of the elderly and considers them as agents of social change rather than merely recipients of care. The increasing migration of young men and women from Kolkata to other cities or abroad, rupture of the joint-family system, privatization of healthcare, emergence of new old age homes, and mobile phone apps have drastically altered the everyday lives of the elderly who often live alone in the city, separated from immediate family. Drawing on interviews with elderly women and men, and professionals who provide eldercare services, I reflect on how gendered constructions of age are re/produced in Kolkata and how elders who live on their own are claiming access to healthcare, social and community based resources and urban infrastructures. Informed by transnational and postcolonial feminist frameworks this research illuminates how class, caste, and gender are entangled with experiences of aging, access to eldercare facilities and the ability of elderly people to advocate for their rights in the city.