Ageing selves and everyday life in the north of England

Years in the making

By Cathrine Degnen

Ageing selves and everyday life in the north of England

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1694-9
  • Pages: 176
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.99
  • Published Date: April 2017
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Anthropology, Age Groups: Children, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gerontology, Anthropology, Sociology
  • Series: New Ethnographies


Seeking to explore what it means to grow older in contemporary Britain from the perspective of older people themselves, this richly detailed ethnographic study engages in debates over selfhood and people's relationships with time. Based on research conducted in a former coal mining village in South Yorkshire, England, Cathrine Degnen explores how the category of 'old age' comes to be assigned and experienced in everyday life through multiple registers of interaction, including that of social memory, in a postindustrial context of great social transformation. Degnen argues that the complex interplay of social, cultural and physical attributes of ageing means that older people can come to have a different position in relation to time and to the self than younger people, unseating normative conventions about narrative and temporality.


'There is much to be learnt from this in-depth and extensive ethnographic research: about how older people make sense of, and talk about, the situations in which they find themselves in later life.'

'Degnen's sensitive and thought-provoking ethnography has a moral as well as analytical valency and makes a valuable contribution to this literature.'

Peter Collins, Durham University, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 21 211-243


1 Introduction 2 Dodworth: people and place 3 Endings, pasts and futures: temporal complexities and memory talk 4 Monitoring the boundaries of age: intra-generational perspectives on 'old age' 5 Reconfiguring normative models of self 6 Narrative forms and shapes 7 Conclusions References


Cathrine Degnen is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Newcastle University

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