Seeking to explore what it means to grow older in contemporary Britain from the perspective of older people themselves, this richly detailed ethnographic study engages in debates over selfhood and people's relationships with time. Based on research conducted in a former coal mining village in South Yorkshire, England, Cathrine Degnen explores how the category of 'old age' comes to be assigned and experienced in everyday life through multiple registers of interaction, including that of social memory, in a postindustrial context of great social transformation. Challenging both the notion of a homogenous relationship with time across generations and the idea of a universalised middle-aged self, Degnen argues that the complex interplay of social, cultural and physical attributes of ageing means that older people can come to have a different position in relation to time and to the self than younger people, unseating normative conventions about narrative and temporality.
About the Author
Cathrine Degnen is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Newcastle University.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Dodworth: people and place 3. Endings, pasts and futures: temporal complexities and memory talk 4. Monitoring the boundaries of age: intra-generational perspectives on 'old age' 5. Reconfiguring normative models of self 6. Narrative forms and shapes 7. Conclusions. References.