Ph.D. Professor of Sociology & Chair of Social Gerontology as well as Scientific Leader (together with Prof. Hannah Bradby) of the Research Group on Welfare and Lifecourse and of the Social Gerontology Group at the Dept. of Sociology of Uppsala University. As one of the leading social gerontologists in Europe, Sandra was awarded the fellowship status by the Gerontological Society of America in 2017. She was also elected into the (Swedish) Royal Society of Sciences in 2016.
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Prof. Torres – who holds both a Professorship in Sociology and the Chair in Social Gerontology at Uppsala University - is a sociologist of aging who has conducted numerous studies that problematize old age-related constructs; shed critical light on commonly used methods in health and social care and deconstruct some of the taken for granted assumptions that guide policy and practice for the older segments of our populations. This is why she is often regarded as a critical gerontologist.
Her main contributions to research on aging and old age are based on research that has aimed to expand the social gerontological imagination through the use of knowledge gathered in the sociology of aging, the sociology of ethnicity/ migration as well as social work (her first professorship appointment was in this discipline) and the caring sciences (her second professorship appointment – which was in Norway – was in rehabilitation and aging). Her research has been awarded grants from the two main Swedish research councils for social sciences (VR and FORTE) and has been a part of some of the research programs, centers of excellence and research schools on aging that the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FORTE) has funded over the past decade.
Prof. Torres leads - together with Prof. Hannah Bradby - the Research Group on Welfare and Lifecourse at Uppsala University’s Dept. of Sociology. This research group - which she founded together with Prof. Rafael Lindqvist in 2012 - brings together close to thirty researchers working on welfare related issues. Since 2011 she leads also The Social Gerontology Group which is comprised of researchers in social gerontology from Uppsala University, Stockholm University and Gävle University College. For insight into the current research projects that these groups are conducting see the homepage links below. A list of the current projects which Prof. Torres is running at the moment - which range from projects on need assessment practice, cross-cultural interaction in palliative care, media representations of culture-related issues in daily newspaper reporting on elderly care to the kind of theoretically based projects focusing on ethnicity and migration for which she is known - can be found on the website of the Research Group on Welfare and Lifecourse (see link below).
Prof. Torres was one of the scientific experts who worked on the latest policy plan on quality within elderly care that the the Swedish Government launched in 2017 (which in Swedish is called the SOU Nationella Kvalitetsplan för Äldreomsorgen). Sandra is also a member of both the Steering and the Management Committee for the COST- research network on old age and social exclusion (ROSENet). Together with Prof. Ariela Lowenstein (Haifa University, Israel), she co-leads the Working Group on Civic Exclusion in this COST-funded network (a network that brings together 140+ researchers in 35 countries). She is also one of the few scholars in Europe that co-chairs an interest group for the Gerontological Society of America and is the President of the the Research Committee on Aging of the Int’l. Sociological Association. She stepped down as President of the Swedish Gerontological Society (SGS) and as a council member to the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) in 2015 after having held both of these positions since 2009.
Prof. Torres has represented Sweden in several research networks financed by the former European Science Foundation and NORFACE-ERA NET and has also been a part of some of the networks for aging research that the Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research (FORTE) has funded through the years. Sandra has authored over 80 publications and has presented her work in 100+ international conferences . She is also one of the first European Research Area on Aging FLARE grant recipients (FLARE stands for Future Leader of Aging Research in Europe) as well as one of the founders of, and Associate Editors for, one of the first open-access journals in gerontology: the International Journal of Ageing and Later Life. In addition, she sits on the Editorial Board for established peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Aging Studies, Ethnicity & Health and Socialvetenskaplig Tidskrift as well as for recently launched ones such as Vulnerable Groups & Inclusion (re-launched in Sept. of 2015 as Society, Health and Vulnerability). Between 2010-2014 she served also in the Editorial Board of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences and in the board of Social Policy and Society (between 2009-2014).
Her latest book is entitled Ethnicity & Old Age: Expanding our Imagination and will be published in 2019 by Policy Press. In 2016 she edited two collections for Routledge: one entitled Ageing in Context of Migrations (edited together with Ute Karl) which was published in the Routledge Advances in Sociology Series and another entitled Older People and Migration: Challenges for Social Work (edited together with Susan Lawrence).
The Social Gerontology Group
Since 2011, Prof. Torres leads The Social Gerontology Group at the Department of Sociology. This group builds on a tradition from 1976, when the late Prof. em. Lars Tornstam (who held the first Chair in Social Gerontology at this department) initiated the first academic courses in Gerontology at Uppsala university and, together with a group of devoted researchers, launched a series of gerontological research projects a couple of years later.
These research projects were conducted within the framework of a large national multidisciplinary gerontological program - Elderly in Society - Past, Present and in the Future. The outcome of this program showed, among other things, the necessity of academic gerontolocical research in more stable forms. The program published 35 research reports and three books (all in Swedish).
In 1990 the Swedish Government decided to establish three new chairs with gerontological orientation - one of them is the Chair in Social Gerontology at Uppsala University that the late Prof. em. Lars Tornstam held prior to retirement and that Prof. Torres holds since the Fall of 2010. With this chair as a basis, the Social Gerontology Group was formally established.
The Social Gerontology Group aims at establishing social gerontology at Uppsala University by means of both research and education, as well as network activities. The program invests in nurturing and schooling new Ph.D.& post-docs in the sociology of aging as well as teaching in the educational programs that are offered at the Department of Sociology.
The members of the Social Gerontology Group, of which some today hold positions at other Swedish universities, meet on a regular basis to discuss their ongoing projects and drafts for publication.
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