Last week, I had the opportunity to present at the Ecuadorian congress of urban studies at the university FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales). It was a beautifully organised congress with a fantastic interdisciplinarity, including lawyers, architects, city planners… and also just a few people researching health and ageing issues (maybe just me actually).
Abstract: With the ageing of populations around the world, political activity of older people is increasingly becoming relevant to political science. However, little is known about the possibility of and rationale for politicisation in later life, especially among those who have never before been politically active. This article uses in-depth qualitative interviews with older participants in a successful protest against the closure of a charity-run day centre to investigate how and when such politicisation might occur. We find that in response to perceived extreme threat, and provided with high levels of support, frail older people with low levels of early politicisation actively participated in a protest that ultimately prevented closure of their day centre. Furthermore, older people are not a weak population, but were able to use their frailty as political tools for shaming decision-makers. The study reveals that despite low political activity throughout life, politicisation can be triggered for the first time in later life. Four key aspects are highlighted: in spite of poor health, which acts as a barrier, perceived threat seems an essential driver to politicisation. Catalysts, whether they are supporters or carers, act as an essential determinant to politicisation in this group. Finally, older people are capable of adapting their claim-making performances, including shaming strategies, to achieve the best outcomes, thus illustrating their potential power.
With recent-ish news of the reinvention of space race with front runner Elon Musk, interest in the world beyond our blue planet has made a come back. The paradigm traveling alongside is no longer tinted with Cold War and atomic annihilation of human life , but rather environmental apocalypse and annihilation of human life. To a certain extent, colonizing another planet is a way to prepare for the collapse of society and in that regard, Elon Musk is the ultimate prepper!