On 10th of September, 2021 Anastasiya Jurkevits will defend her doctoral dissertation entitled “‘Old Age’ and ‘Active Ageing’ Concepts within Belarusian Discourses”.

The doctoral dissertation was carried out at the Lithuanian Social Research Centre in 2016–2020 in accordance with the right granted to Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuanian Social Research Centre (at the present day Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences) and Kaunas University of Technology (2019 February 22, order No. V-160, amendment – 2021 January 18, order No. V-75).

Under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania 11 November 2020 resolution No. 1260 due to reorganization of the Lithuanian Social Research Centre, the Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics and the Law Institute of Lithuania into the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, from 1 January 2021 the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences took over the rights and obligations of the Lithuanian Social Research Centre, the Law Institute of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics.

Scientific supervisor:
Chief researcher dr. Sarmitė Mikulionienė (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005).

The dissertation will be defended at the Council of Sociology of Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences and Kaunas University of Technology.

Chairman:
Prof. dr. Rūta Brazienė (Vilnius University, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005).

Members:

  • Prof. dr. Auksė Balčytienė (Vytautas Magnus University, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005);
  • Senior researcher Dr. Monika Frėjutė Rakauskienė (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005);
  • Prof. dr. Lolita Vilka (Riga Stradins University, Humanities, Philosophy, H 001);
  • Chief researcher Prof. dr. Laimutė Žalimienė (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005).

The official defense of the dissertation will be held at the meeting of the Council of Sociology at 10:00 a.m. on 10 September 2021.

Interested participants can register via email to moksline.sekretore@lcss.lt.

Annotation

This research aims to identify inconsistencies and contradictions in the definition of ‘old age’ and ‘active ageing’ by social actors in modern Belarusian discourses as a reflection of existing social problems and potential issues in the reform of social policies regarding older people in Belarus. Within the theoretical direction of discursive institutionalism the integration of context research with a multi-level analysis of discourses allowed to enrich the latter and identify the problems associated with the use of the concepts of ‘old age’ and ‘active ageing’ in the specific Belarusian context. The findings indicate that the old-age concept is problematised on an individual and macro-level in each of the discourses analysed. The attempts to define and interpret these concepts are based on various theoretical and ideological paradigms and different knowledge systems; however, each of the discourses analysed reveals ageist attitudes towards old age and older people in Belarus. The official media discourse of ‘active ageing’ in the context of Belarus’s economic and demographic challenges becomes a tool of ‘soft power’, legitimising the country’s pension reform and the need to rethink the established norms and stereotypes about old age. It broadcasts and strengthens the concepts of ‘social dependence’ and ‘burden’ in the discourse on the older citizens, concealing marginalisation of older people. Without claiming to generalise and predict future changes, the conducted sociological analysis justifies the need to run a large-scale quantitative research and investigate policy instruments to improve the quality of life of older people in Belarus.