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Jessica C. Robbins, "Aging Nationally in Contemporary Poland: Memory, Kinship, and Personhood" (Rutgers UP, 2020)

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How embedded are the dignity and personhood of the elderly in the collective memory of their nation? In Aging Nationally in Contemporary Poland: Memory, Kinship, and Personhood (Rutgers University Press, 2021) anthropologist Jessica C. Robbins-Panko dissects the Polish version of this story, in which the meanings and ideals both of “active aging” programs and of institutions devoted to medium- or long-term care have become caught up in the cultural, political, and economic changes that have occurred during the lifetimes of the oldest generations—most visibly, the transition from socialism to capitalism. Many older Poles come to live valued, meaningful lives in old age despite the threats to respect and dignity posed by illness and debility. Through intimate portrayals of a wide range of experiences of aging in Poland—from adult education to in-patient rehab to Alzheimer’s support centers—Robbins-Panko shows that everyday practices of remembering and relatedness shape how older Poles come to be seen by themselves and by others as living worthy, valued lives.

Piotr H. Kosicki is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Catholics on the Barricades (Yale, 2018) and editor, among others, of Political Exile in the Global Twentieth Century (with Wolfram Kaiser). His most recent writings appeared in The Atlantic and in Foreign Affairs.

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Manage episode 412415646 series 2508297
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How embedded are the dignity and personhood of the elderly in the collective memory of their nation? In Aging Nationally in Contemporary Poland: Memory, Kinship, and Personhood (Rutgers University Press, 2021) anthropologist Jessica C. Robbins-Panko dissects the Polish version of this story, in which the meanings and ideals both of “active aging” programs and of institutions devoted to medium- or long-term care have become caught up in the cultural, political, and economic changes that have occurred during the lifetimes of the oldest generations—most visibly, the transition from socialism to capitalism. Many older Poles come to live valued, meaningful lives in old age despite the threats to respect and dignity posed by illness and debility. Through intimate portrayals of a wide range of experiences of aging in Poland—from adult education to in-patient rehab to Alzheimer’s support centers—Robbins-Panko shows that everyday practices of remembering and relatedness shape how older Poles come to be seen by themselves and by others as living worthy, valued lives.

Piotr H. Kosicki is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Catholics on the Barricades (Yale, 2018) and editor, among others, of Political Exile in the Global Twentieth Century (with Wolfram Kaiser). His most recent writings appeared in The Atlantic and in Foreign Affairs.

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Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/sociology

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