While the division of knowledge in the domain of stages of life has led to a specialization by age group, the variety of personal trajectories combined with more blurred chronological thresholds call for an alternative, crosscutting approach to biographical transitions. The objective of the “stages of life” focal area is therefore to reconsider the studies made by its different members on distinct age groups (early childhood and parenthood, transitions towards adulthood, ageing and old age and different types of public and nonprofessional support) by opening up different research areas to work on common issues related to the challenges of ageing.
To this end, the work of the “stages of life” focal group centres on the issue of socialisation at different age transitions through three study areas:
- Policy on life stage transitions as an emerging issue (macro level) – How did the issue of transition at different stages of life emerge in discussions on social protection at international scale? How did we start thinking about age-relevant policy?
- Assisting transitions (meso level) – How do we assist transitions and establish underlying standards? Which professional and generational cultures socially prepare for transitions and how? How do individuals from other generations (parents, children and grandparents) provide support, and how do they socially prepare for transitions? Where can the content of these socialisations be found and who are the content providers? Do they change from one generation to the next? On what standards are they based? What is the dominant view in a given era? What is the appropriate socialisation for an age group? What type of expert is best placed to give an answer? Who provides the assistance?
- Real-life transitions and experiences of transitions (micro level) – How do we “transit” from one age to another? What strategies do individuals employ? How do they undergo these transitions? What is their experience of transitions and what type of transition is involved?
In addition to comparing studies carried out at the laboratory, this focal area will include seminars open to external researchers who contribute to this reflection on breaking down age barriers.