More-than representational approaches to the life-course

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This paper proposes bringing together work on the life-course and more-than representational theories as one way to extend and complement current approaches to ageing research. Drawing on ethnographic research with older people in Manchester, UK, I argue that research on ageing should better foreground those less-tangible, temporal dynamics of experience which are often overlooked. Understanding the life-course through more-than representational theories complicates any clear sense of chronological time, illuminating the ways in which the lifecourse mediates the present in unexpected and expected ways. Specifically, I foreground differentiated capacities to affect and be affected across places, times and individual lifecourses. This framing not only disrupts reductive narratives of older age but shows how morethan representational theories are important to thinking about temporality. Through accounts developed with older people, rather than on them, I demonstrate the ways in which the identities and stories encountered are mediated by the research context. Future research on ageing must foreground the multiplicities and practices of older peoples’ embodied experience whilst keeping sight of the performative effects of representations. There is a need to more-thoroughly explore the overlaps between more-than representational theories and the life-course to further develop relational geographies of ageing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
Early online date14 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 May 2019


  • Non-representational theory
  • life-course
  • older age
  • ageing
  • temporality
  • relationality


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