Affective Lives of Rural Ageing

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Affective and embodied knowledges have come to exert an influence on both rural studies and ageing studies. Drawing together these two contexts and considering the accelerated demographic ageing experienced in rural areas in contrast to urban areas, this paper aims to explore the affective and emotional lives of older people living in rural Scotland. This paper uses non-representational theories as a mode of thought to attend to this aim, whilst considering the application of this theoretical perspective methodologically. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this paper first explores the more-than-human nature of rural spaces that older people experience. This leads into a consideration of socialities as a contour of rural ageing and the notion of atmosphere as part of an affective and emotional element of rural living. By linking non-representational theories with rural ageing, this paper ultimately contributes to ongoing debates within rural studies on affective rural lives. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-234
Number of pages22
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number1
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

This paper was possible as part of a Research Studentship funded, jointly, by the University of Aberdeen and the James Hutton Institute and draws on work directly from the related PhD thesis (Maclaren, forthcoming, University of Aberdeen). I would like to thank Lorna Philip and Mags Currie for their generous comments on an earlier draft of this paper, and Dan Swanton for engaging in a number of conversations that supported this research. This paper benefitted from having parts presented at various seminars and conferences. In particular I would like to thank the organisers, session chairs and audiences at the Meanings of the Rural conference in Aveiro (2015) and the New Voices in Rural Geography session at the American Association of Geographers Conference in Boston (2017), the latter where the paper presentation won the Rural Geography Speciality Groups Student Paper Prize. I was also delighted to submit this paper for and win the 27th European Society for Rural Sociology Congress’ 2017 Student Paper Prize where the paper was also presented in Working Group Nine Ageing rural communities: experiences and consequences of uneven demographic processes. I am grateful to the society and the journal for support with this. Two anonymous reviewers took the time to provide valuable comments that helped develop this paper for final publication. I’d also like to thank all the people who took the time to talk to me during my fieldwork, without them I could not have done any of this. Finally, Lily Cartwright for her unending support and kindness to ‘keep going!’.


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