Leisure in 21st Century Later Life

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Tania WISEMAN, University of Brighton, United Kingdom
Andrew CHURCH, University of Brighton, United Kingdom
Neil RAVENSCROFT, University of Brighton, United Kingdom
New ageing populations are emerging in the UK, people are surviving into later life in greater numbers than ever before and many of those people are healthy (ONS 2014), which is a new phenomenon. This research considers theory and research from subjects that often consider later life to be problematic, but reads them from a more optimistic perspective. Leisure research and theory, gerontology, sociology, public health, epidemiology, and UK office for National Statistics reports all contribute to creating a new perspective on later life.

The narratives about leisure in late life presented in this research were constructed through immersion in the contributions of individual Mass Observation Archive correspondents writing about everyday life from 2000-2016. Current and remembered stories about everyday life are woven together using direct quotes to create stories that illustrate everyday leisure in 21st century late life in the UK. Creative non-fiction is an important narrative form (Gutkind 2012) which is used in leisure studies research (Humberstone 2011, Smith 2013), and aims to present qualitative findings in an engaging and emotive way (Caulley 2008).

The rich and insightful reports from the correspondents of the mass observation archive record in great detail the lives that people are living, and how they feel about them. There is not currently a grand narrative to lead us in this uncharted extended later life. So looking to the side, at peers to find out about later lives in the 21st century is one way of imagining this new phase. With varied stories of later life for inspiration we can begin to imagine our own later life stories, not based on historical generalisations, but on the carefully reported everyday lives of people that know.