General Anthropology Division
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
The Village movement started 15 years ago at Beacon Hill in Boston; today there are over 200 open Villages and more than 150 in development in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Villages are urban, suburban, and rural. Some are tightly tied to a specific neighborhood while others are loosely tied to place and operate primarily as online communities that support a variety of real world activities. All serve adults over age 50, with the majority serving those over 65. They vary in services offered, with some offering only a means for seniors to socialize and others offering a broad range of services from rides to home visits and assistance with home tasks. Yet despite this widespread phenomena in the social practice of aging, a search of the literature in the anthropology of aging, as well as discussions with those currently engaged in research on the anthropology of aging indicates that no one appears to be doing research on this movement. This is unusual, because the concept of village that was referenced in the formation of the movement was taken directly from anthropological literature. Most anthropologists I spoke with seemed surprised that these Villages exist. This paper is thus both an overview of the movement with specific reference to The Village in Howard (Maryland) and a call for anthropological research on Villages and the Village Movement.