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XX AIDELF Conference / 44th Chaire Quetelet

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 28-31 August 2018


AIDELF and the Chaire Quetelet jointly organized this year from 28 to 31 August 2018 a conference on the theme “How do we age?”


Some 130 participants came together at the Aula Magna in Louvain-la-Neuve to listen to approximately 80 paper presentations and discuss ageing in its various dimensions and levels of analysis.


Ageing is a global challenge and concerns populations all over the world. While ageing is currently more patent in the North, it is already taking place in the countries of the South and at a faster rate than in the North. Ageing is also a personal challenge for each individual, eager to maintain his or her identity and dignity. On both these levels, international organizations, national governments, local officials need to ensure the sustainability of social systems and policies, which cannot stop the ageing process but need to accompany it by preserving social, and in particular, intergenerational relations.


As an introduction, for the host country day on Tuesday 28 August 2018, researchers from the Centre de recherche en Démographie (DEMO) of Louvain-la-Neuve presented the case of Belgium in a resolutely multidisciplinary perspective.


Also on 28 August, a session focusing on publications in demography was dedicated to young researchers. Members of the editorial boards of Francophone demography journals (Revue Quételet, Population, Cahiers Québécois de Démographie, Revue d’étude des populations, Annales de Démographie Historique) presented their journal’s editorial policies.


The opening session provided an opportunity to present a first overview. Three researchers from different disciplines introduced their vision. Gilles Pison (INED and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle) set out to show the past and future evolution of population ageing in the world, using innovative educational tools. Michel Loriaux (Université catholique de Louvain) presented the ethical, social and political issues that need to be addressed if we want to "age together". Finally, Mamadou Coumé, a geriatrician based in Senegal (the first holder of a geriatric chair in sub-Saharan Africa), addressed the issues of health as well as the demographic and social aspects related to the increase in the number of elderly or very elderly in Africa, a process which has begun and which will accelerate in these countries that remain poor.


After these introductions, the following twenty sessions of the conference explored these different levels of analysis along four themes:

  • Definition and measurement of old age and ageing;
  • Life duration, autonomy, frailty and end of life;
  • Intergenerational relationships and lifestyles;
  • Public policies and ageing.


On Wednesday 29 August, a round table was organized in collaboration with the International Association of French-speaking Sociologists (AISLF), chaired by Nathalie Burnay (Universities of Namur and Louvain-la-Neuve). After the screening of a short version of the documentary “I'm here, I'm staying there” (« j’y suis, j’y reste », Leroy Merlin Source), sociologists, demographers and practitioners discussed care for the elderly, in nursing homes or at home.


On Thursday evening, AIDELF celebrated its 40th anniversary! For this occasion, in the magnificent ruins of the Abbey of Villers-la-Ville, the speakers were AIDELF’s President Michel Oris, IUSSP President Tom LeGrand, INED Director Magda Tomasini and Nathalie Burnay on behalf of the International Association of French-speaking Sociologists.


The closing session was entitled "What do young researchers (and less young researchers) think about ageing?” and featured speakers Sadio Ba Gning (Université Saint Louis du Sénégal), Marthe Nicolet (University of Geneva) and Rafael Silva Ramirez (University of Montreal), with Jacques Véron (INED) as chair. They shared their views on the main themes of the conference.


The IUSSP was represented at the conference by its President, Tom LeGrand (University of Montreal).