Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Life course perspectives on social inequalities in health

Moving towards an interdisciplinary science

Date: March 11 - 12, 2010

Organizers: Matthias Richter (Bern), David Blane (London)

Workshop of the ZiF Network of Young Scholars
There is abundant documentation that social inequalities have a profound influence on health across the life course. Despite considerable research efforts it is still difficult to explain the processes that result in social inequalities in health. In the context of a life course perspective on health inequalities, new findings were gained by enlarging the analytic time frame and by integrating determinants and mechanisms acting earlier in life. Life course influences are increasingly seen to hold the key to understanding the existence and persistence of socioeconomic inequalities in adult morbidity and mortality. The aim of the workshop was to contribute to the development of a more holistic and theory-driven view of the life course and its interdependent pathways—an interdisciplinary view of the embodiment of social phenomena into the biological. The workshop brought together leading experts from different disciplines (Sociology, Medicine, Economy, Psychology and Education) and from major longitudinal studies in Europe, with a view to (a) identifying the models of the life course which underlie their science; and (b) working towards a shared model. In tackling these questions the workshop focused on four areas of interdisciplinary study: 1) theoretical and statistical challenges for life course research, 2) illuminating life in late middle age, 3) accumulation of adversity, 4) life course influences on life at older ages. Expertise in the key disciplines was combined, in order to contribute to an implementation of a life course perspective at the interface between natural and social sciences. The concentrated and open working atmosphere at the ZiF enabled fruitful discussions and the planning of continuous exchange between all participants.


Mel Bartley (London), Cara Booker (Colchester), Giuseppe Costa (Grugliasco), Cyrille Delpierre (Toulouse), Martin Diewald (Bielefeld), Johan Hallqvist (Uppsala), Klaus Hurrelmann (Berlin), Urban Janlert (Umeå), Ilona Koupil (Stockholm), Meena Kumari (London), Thierry Lang (Toulouse), Frank van Lenthe (Rotterdam), Andreas Mielck (Neuherberg), Rafael Mikolajczyk (Bremen), Gita Mishra (London), Scott Montgomery (Stockholm), Dimitri Mortelmans (Antwerpen), Øyvind Næss (Oslo), Gopalakrishnan Netuveli (London), Belinda Nicolau (Laval), Walter Osika (Göteborg), Hynek Pikhart (London), Kristiina Rajaleid (Stockholm), Katharina Rathmann (Berlin), Amanda Sacker (Colchester), Ina Schöllgen (Berlin), Ingrid Schoon (London), Reinhard Schunck (Bielefeld), Sven Voigtländer (Bielefeld), Morten Wahrendorf (Düsseldorf), Elizabeth Webb (London), Kjetil van der Wel (Oslo), Hugo Westerlund (Stockholm)

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