Dr.in Anna Wanka

Working Title: Practicing KnowlAge – Un/Doing Age in Research

Located at a ‘meta’ level and deploying a reflexive science studies perspective, the project analyses the material-discursive practices that constitute the fields of childhood, youth, adulthood and age(ing) studies. By analyzing how age is being un/done through scientific knowledge practices and age boundaries are drawn through the constitution of age-specific research fields it provides the basis for the development of a Linking Ages framework.  The project asks (1) which explicit knowledge practices (central discourses, themes, concepts, theories, ontologies and epistemologies) and (2) which implicit knowledge practices (methodologies and methods, publication, dissemination and mentoring practices, as well as an overall incorporated ‘habitus’) are constitutive for the respective fields, and how and where they do/not overlap.

To address these questions, the group leader will both collect her own empirical data and systematically process findings from the PhD and MA projects. In a first step, a systematic literature review will be carried out and linked with state-of-the-art literature processed in the involved sub-projects. Simultaneously, a standardized Delphi-survey among selected experts in the fields of childhood, youth, adulthood and age(ing) studies (including the international advisory board) will be conducted. Core themes are then identified and mapped by situational analysis. In a second step, preliminary findings, field-specific modes of socialization and a field-related habitus are discussed in focus groups with researchers from the respective fields, including the involved PhD researchers. Based on these focus group discussions, field-specific sites (e.g. central conferences for childhood and age studies) are identified to conduct further ethnographic fieldwork and contrast findings between the research fields. In a third step, all findings will be analysed and mapped together with the findings from the involved sub-projects using situational analysis. On this basis, the practice-theoretical Linking Ages framework will be constituted in a processual manner and in constant dialogue with the involved sub-project leaders. By working out overlaps and gaps between the knowledge practices in these fields such a framework can bring childhood, youth, adulthood and age studies into a dialogue.