Spatial stories: lived mobilities of elderly women
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All the world seems to be on the move. Mobility is not just movement from A to B, but it is practised, experienced and embodied. There has been few studies exploring the lived mobility of later life. Studies that have explored elderly women's mobility have tended to have a health perceptive seeing ageing as a process of decline and increasing frailty with the result being a loss of mobility. This thesis claims that 'age' had not been addressed in mobility research with the same importance as other variables such as gender and socio-economic status. With insights from social gerontology, this thesis has utilised a more complex view of age in order to explore the mobility experience and subsequent performance of elderly women in Edinburgh. Identity construction is a process based on internal (i.e. mindset, emotions) and external (i.e. corporeality, social construction of age, other people) definition, which was highlighted by importance of embodiment and the opportunity to negotiate the body by using non-human attributes. Identities are constructed and negotiated while on the move. They are relative, relational, contextual and situational. When elderly women enter and exit situations they make conscious and subconscious interpretations and choices regarding the spatial, temporal and social dimensions. This is anchored in past experiences and emotions (i.e biography) and the output (i.e. path and mode choice) is mobility performance. As such, mobility and identity are mutually embedded. The findings are based primarily on in-depth interviews and go-alongs with elderly Scottish women living in Edinburgh. It has also been supplemented with observations and photographic material collected by the author.