Micol Bronzini

Scientific research, clinical practice, and societal concerns on aging processes. The challenges of biological age

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: aging processes, biological age, aging standards, S&TS, bio-medicalization of aging.

The paper reflects critically on the measurement of «biological aging», which may play a central role in the discourses on innovating aging. Biological age is expected to integrate (if not replace) chronological age in the definition of aging as it recognizes the heterogeneity of aging processes between individuals. It raises multiple expectations in terms of both public health (redefining targets of health prevention), welfare policies (e.g., retirement policies) and burgeoning commercial opportunities. On the other hand, the measurement of biological age raises the risk of pervasive forms of surveillance (biomedicalization of aging), and it may be translated into new forms of discrimination. This contribution intends to critically discuss these aspects from the privileged observatory given by the author’s participation in a multidisciplinary project called Innovative Research Action on AGE (mir-age). The latter shows how the very process of creation of new scientific knowledge in this field is the emergent outcome from a complex ecology of relationships between social actors coming from different disciplinary backgrounds and heterogeneous technical devices (from biological samples to information technologies), sustained by the prevailing political and social imagery over aging processes.

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