Jones, Amy Louise (2019) Fragmentation, demonisation and breakdown : an exploration of how neoliberalism and the recession have affected older people's lives in Stoke-on-Trent. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Whilst there has been an academic ‘obsess[ion]’ with the topics of neoliberalism and the recession, there remains a significant gap in sociological and gerontological literature concerning how these macro forces have impacted upon real people, specifically older people, within a real-life context (Purcell, 2016:615). In order to overcome this significant omission, in this thesis empirical research was undertaken in Meir North, a deprived area in Stoke-on-Trent, to identify how neoliberalism and conditions of austerity have impacted upon older people’s ‘state-of-Being’ at an everyday level (Heidegger, 1962:78). The central objectives of this research were to explore the relationship between the macro and the micro, notably through the creation of a mid-range theory of social transformation in a low growth area under conditions of neoliberalism, and to demonstrate how those in old age are having to negotiate change in their daily lives. The research is based upon a phenomenological view of ontology, which informed the chosen methodology (interpretive) and methods (semi structured interviews, participant observations, and photography), and encouraged reflectivity in relation to my own ‘being-in-the-world’ and the data analysis (Heidegger, 1962:78). The findings from the ethnographic research revealed that whilst the older people have been detrimentally affected by these socio-economic transformations including experiencing social exclusion, weakened community bonds, and the fragmentation of the working class, they have also attempted to resist such processes through drawing upon their past experiences, which are imbued with nostalgia, to creatively develop their own ‘grey’ and ‘gift’ economies and ‘personal communities’ (Mauss, 1990:4; Pahl, 2005:636). The thesis concludes with a critique of neoliberal normativity as it is argued that an ‘alternative’ is possible, and ways forward, notably in relation to innovative future research projects, are presented (Foucault, 1999; O.Jones 2012:251).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Embargo on access until 1 May 2024 - The thesis is due for publication, or the author is actively seeking to publish this material.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Contributors: Featherstone, M (Thesis advisor)
Head, EL (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2019 15:37
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2023 15:51

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