Ageing in Rural Places

Authored by: Thomas Scharf , Kieran Walsh , Eamon O’Shea

Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138804371
eBook ISBN: 9781315753041
Adobe ISBN: 9781317619864


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Ageing in rural places and the variety of issues facing older people who live in rural communities are long-standing topics of interest in social gerontology. Indeed, a number of pioneering studies have become key reference points of European and North American research on ageing. This is reflected, for example, in early work by Blume (1969) and Rosenmayr (1960, 1982) on family relations of older people in rural areas respectively of Germany and Austria, in Cribier’s (1973) influential research on urban dwellers with second homes in the French countryside, in Arensberg and Kimball’s (1940/2001) study of intergenerational farming relationships in the rural west of Ireland, and in the extensive body of work developed by Wenger (1984) in rural communities in North Wales (United Kingdom). A similarly strong North American tradition of rural gerontology is illustrated in a range of edited collections (e.g., Youmans, 1967; Coward & Lee, 1985; Rowles, Beaulieu & Myers, 1996; Coward & Krout, 1998). These studies emerged at a time when social gerontology, still in its relative infancy as a multidisciplinary field of study, sought to draw attention to the sociospatial implications of population ageing and to distinguish characteristics of rural older people from those of urban or, in the predominantly urbanised societies of the global north, general populations of ageing adults.

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