Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences
(023) 8059 6880

Dr Elisabeth Schröder-Butterfill BA, MSc, DPhil

Lecturer in Gerontology, SSLC Coordinator

Dr Elisabeth Schröder-Butterfill's photo

I am a Lecturer in Gerontology and interested in older people’s social and support networks in developing and transitional societies.

I am interested in ageing, the life course and social networks in developing and transitional societies.

I joined the Centre for Research on Ageing in 2006 and helped to develop the MSc in Gerontology. I studied Human Sciences at Oxford University, then obtained an MSc in Medical Demography at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I spent two years as researcher at the Institute of Population Research and Social Policy at Bielefeld University in Germany. I returned to Oxford for doctoral research on old-age support and intergenerational relations in Indonesia, obtaining my DPhil in 2002. Between 2004 and 2006 I was British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St Antony’s College and the Institute of Human Sciences at Oxford. During that time I also lectured and tutored in demography. 

I am on the Editorial Board of Ageing and Society and Ethics Advisor on “SmartPhonesSmartAging” (UCL) and “Emergent Ethics of Drone Violence” (University of Southampton). I am member of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), the British Society of Gerontology (BSG), the British Society for Population Studies (BSPS), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Demographie and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gerontologie und Geriatrie.


Research interests

My research focuses on understanding the relationships between social networks, social stratification and the construction of vulnerability over the lifecourse. My academic background is interdisciplinary, combining demography, anthropology and sociology, and my research merges qualitative and quantitative methods, with ethnography informing the design and interpretation of survey sources. I have a developing interest in ethical issues in gerontological and social sciences research. 

Since 1999 I have been conducting comparative, collaborative research on ageing and the lifecourse in Indonesia. Between 1998 and 2004, I was part of Ageing in Indonesia, directed by Dr Philip Kreager (Oxford University) and funded by the Wellcome Trust. This involved longitudinal ethnographic and household survey research in three Indonesian communities. During a British Academy Post-doctoral Research Fellowship (2004-2006), I followed up the network trajectories of older Javanese people to study network dynamics and responsiveness to crises and transitions. I have published on intergenerational family support; vulnerabilities in old age; the nexus of family, kinship and community networks in support provision; gender and ageing; caregiving and the impact of dependency on social identity; support networks and their differentials and dynamics; the role of childlessness, divorce, migration and social stratification in shaping access to support and care in later life; and the impact of migration on family networks. 

I recently completed research on the local and transnational support networks of older Transylvanian Saxons in Romania. This German-speaking ethnic minority has experienced dramatic outmigration to Germany in recent decades, leaving a predominantly older population in Romania. The research investigated the relative importance of local versus transnational kin support, the role of the church and neighbours, and the emergence of transnational ethnically-motivated welfare arrangements. 

Since 2016 I have been Co-Investigator on a large comparative research project, directed by Prof Lyn Parker (University of Western Australia) and funded by the Australian Research Council. The study examines social, health and economic vulnerabilities across the lifecourse in six Indonesian communities, utilising a common ethnographic, household survey and life history approach. This research follows up the three study communities covered during Ageing in Indonesia and adds three Eastern Indonesian locations to capture significant ethnic, religious and economic diversity. We focus on five lifecourse stages (childhood, youth, family formation, middle-age and old age) to examine the role of social networks and welfare providers in mitigating the impacts of common lifecourse vulnerabilities. 

I am currently supervising four PhD students, working on spirituality in later life; decision making among the ‘oldest old’; intergenerational relationships and family support in Brunei; and digital device use among older people with dementia. 

Sort via:TypeorYear



Book Chapters


Working Paper

  • GERO6012 Demographic Change, Ageing and Globalisation (DL)
  • GERO6019 Demographic Change, Ageing and Globalisation
  • GERO6017 Methods for Researching Ageing Societies
  • PhD supervision
Dr Elisabeth Schröder-Butterfill
Reception Building 58 University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/4109

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings