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The Fondation Brocher is an essential player in this vital thinking process: one which will help make us aware of the real challenges in using our resources for maximum impact on the health of the people of the world.



Professor Daniel Wikler, Harvard University


The Brocher Foundation is a Swiss non-profit private foundation  recognized of public interest. Your donations are tax deductible according to the regulations in force.


November 14 - 16, 2023

Clinical, sociological and cultural dimensions of frailty: a dialogue


Day 1: Themes 1 and 2; evening: joint discussion of a movie
Day 2: Themes 3 and 4; evening:
Day 3: themes 5 and summing up


Brocher Foundation



The workshop comprises an interdisciplinary conversation around new and developing clinical technologies to identify and intervene in frailty in older people. For the past twenty years, clinical medicine has attempted to identify, measure and intervene in the trajectory of frailty, using increasingly refined techniques and technologies across a range of different settings. It represents a key development in how clinical medicine views the ageing body with genealogical continuity and discontinuity with the concept of senescence. However, unlike the older concept of senescence, frailty is not located entirely within the body but also has important socio-cultural, sociological, psychological and environmental dimensions amenable to modification. Importantly it has a subjective dimension within the individual life course which actively shapes the trajectory of frailty itself. Thus frailty lies at the nexus of several confluences – physiological, psycho-social, cultural – which define old age in contemporary society, and which in turn shape and define how frailty is understood. The workshop brings together researchers in the field of the social sciences, the humanities, and medicine to explore how cross-fertilisation of concepts, theoretical tools and key questions originating in individual disciplinary areas can facilitate an enriched and multi-layered understanding of frailty and its place in shaping perceptions both of old age and the life course.

This workshop examines, through multi-disciplinary dialogue, medical innovations around frailty in old age, specifically the development and operationalisation of two main models for identifying and intervening in frailty. It considers their impact on shaping views of old age and perceptions of the older body in western societies from the perspective of scholars in sociology, anthropology, medical humanities, philosophy and science and technology studies, as well as clinicians.