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Theorising the relationship between older people and their immediate social living environment

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This article presents a theoretical framework for exploring the dynamics between older people and their immediate social living environment. After introducing a gerontological perspective that goes beyond microfication, a literature review presents findings from studies that have explored the role of place and locality for older people. Next, this contribution seeks to broaden the conceptual field by introducing key dimensions of the relationship between older people and their social environment. A critical investigation of underlying assumptions and constructions of older people within certain research traditions that address the social environment is presented. In conclusion, the role of the social environment is underlined as a dynamic, multi-dimensional, historically and spatially contextualized process that both shapes and is shaped by the experiences and practices of older people.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Adult Educational Sciences,Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium 2: Independent researcher,

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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