SALC Sessions at 2016 ASA meeting

2016-banner-600x200ASA Seattle, August 20-23, 2016 

SALC Section Day, August 20 (first day of meeting)

Theme: Challenges and New Directions in Life Course Studies

1. Open Session:  Life Course Construction in Challenging Circumstances

Organizer: Monica Johnson, Washington State University (

While agency is a central principle of life course analysis, it is often studied without attention to contextual variation, social change, and subgroup differences.  The exercise of agency–through positive visions of the future, goal setting, optimism and strategic action–is particularly challenging under conditions of war, environmental catastrophe, urban violence, racial/ethnic discrimination, escalating inequality and poverty, occupational restructuring and precarity, and social disorganization.   What contributes to the capacity to manage one’s life course under changing, unpredictable, and difficult circumstances? How might institutional/organizational changes or policy shifts support the effective exercise of agency, helping people to manage their lives and to maintain their health and well-being in the turbulent contemporary social world?

2. Open Session: Life Course Research and Social Policy

Organizer: Madonna Harrington Meyer, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University (

Life course researchers have strong potential to inform social policy.  While policy implications are often reserved for the concluding sections of articles and books, this session will bring these considerations to the forefront, underscoring how life course scholarship has important implications for policies in multiple domains, including education, unemployment and labor market dynamics, school-to-work transitions, health, family, housing, criminal justice, inequality and others.   The session provides opportunities for researchers to discuss the policy implications of their findings and for those working with policy-makers to share their experiences (regarding communication, implementation, evaluation, etc.). Scholars are also encouraged to consider the kinds of research that need to be done to address urgent social problems and issues involving aging and the life course, so as to more effectively guide social policy makers.

3. Open Session: Aging, Disability and Social Movements*

Jointly sponsored by the Sections on Disability, Medical Sociology, and Aging and the Life Course

Organizer: Robyn Lewis Brown, University of Kentucky  (

This session could address a number of topics of interest to the three co-sponsoring sections: social movements’ inclusion/exclusion of disabled and/or older people; the involvement of disabled/older people in social movements (positive or negative experiences other than inclusion/exclusion), and how intersectional factors (e.g., gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity) influence both phenomena.  Papers may focus on social movements advocating for people with disabilities and/or older people, as well as other social movements.

*Linked to the 2016 ASA Program theme:  Rethinking Social Movements: Can Changing the Conversation Change the World?

4. Section on Aging and the Life Course Roundtables

Organizers:  Carol Aneshensel, University of California, Los Angeles (, and Andrew London, Syracuse University (


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