Everyday belonging and ageing: Place and generational change

V. May, S. Muir

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In this paper, we discuss findings from a study on intergenerational relationalities in order to examine some aspects of how people over 50 years of age experience belonging in their everyday lives. Belonging emerged not as a single unitary 'thing', but a complex intersecting of relational, cultural and sensory experiences. We explore how people, place, time and cultural context intertwined in people's sense of belonging to place. Although much previous research on belonging has largely focused on geographical movement, we found that temporal movement, at an individual level in the form of ageing and at a collective level in terms of generational change, proved to be an important layer of our participants' experiences of belonging and not belonging. Furthermore, we argue that people often come to understand and speak of temporal shifts in belonging in embodied terms, based on their sensory engagement with the world. The paper concludes by considering the consequences of this additional aspect of the experience of belonging for the study of belonging as a social and personal process, and how our findings contribute to debates around 'ageing well'.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2015


  • Belonging
  • Ageing
  • Place
  • Generatiin


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