In This Chapter

Time and space


Authored by: Julia Twigg , Wendy Martin

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415631143
eBook ISBN: 9780203097090
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221033


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The meanings and experiences of time and space have changed significantly in contemporary societies due to processes of globalization, migration, increased mobility and technological developments. In particular, there has been a move from predominantly face-to-face relationships, in which time and space are inextricably linked, towards an increasing separation of time and space. This has led to diverse cultural possibilities and opportunities in mid to later life. In this section, Chris Phillipson explores key developments and inter-connections between ‘global’ and ‘local’ ties that are reshaping later life. As people experience a range of global, national, regional and local forces, the ways ageing is understood and experienced are being continually reshaped and reconstructed. Jan Baars questions the predominant ways of knowing time, in particular, chronological time, and shows how diverse and complex notions of temporality enhance our understanding of age and ageing. Amanda Grenier explores how concepts of transitions shape people’s experiences of age and ageing, showing how there has been a shift from seeing transitions as fixed points across the life course to more flexible interpretations and events that unfold across time. Ricca Edmondson and Thomas Scharf explore the notion of place and space in later life with a focus on urban and rural ageing, drawing out key issues in exploring how older people confront and use patterns of power and meaning to engage in the continuous re-creation of later life in the places where they live. Karen O’Reilly and Michaela Benson explore the growth in global lifestyle migration in later life, as increasing numbers of relatively affluent individuals move internationally to seek what they consider to be the ‘good life’. However, as they show, the imaginings of the ‘good life’ need to be reconciled with the realities of the ageing body and access to, and experiences of, health and social care provision within destinations. Alfred Chan and Carol Ma focus on the social and demographic changes within the Asia Pacific region, showing how ageing societies are reshaping the cultural experiences and identities of people as they grow older. Ian Rees Jones explores the social and technological developments with a focus on information and communication technologies (ICT) that are having profound influences on later life, in particular in relation to social relationships and social connectivity in time and space. Sheila Peace explores the meaning of home in western countries and explores the notion of ‘ageing in place’ in relation to embodiment, which can result in different forms of living, different meanings of space and place and new understandings of home. She raises an important question about whether home is essential to later life. Caroline Holland explores how older people may experience public places. She shows that the ways people can access spaces open to the public is influenced by physical, social and legal constraints, and how for older people there can be specific disincentives to engaging in communal places. Finally, Allison Kirkman examines the origins of cemeteries and how current social practices associated with cemeteries are linked with age and ageing. The impact of cremation is shown, along with the influence of technologies such as the internet and social media in memorialization.

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