Understanding older women’s leisure: the value of biographical methods
International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism
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The phenomenal growth in the number of older people in the western world is well documented, with the fastest growing group being those aged over 80 years, the majority of whom are women. Despite this demographic transformation, little research has sought to understand the meaning of tourism and leisure both for older people in general and specifically for women in the 'oldest old' phase. The research that does exist is typically quantitative and provides an essentialist view of leisure in old age, often failing to recognise the diversity of older people's experiences. In contrast, this paper aims to provide a more fine-grained discussion of older people's leisure. Drawn from the first author's doctoral study, it reports and considers a biographical interview with a 79-year-old British woman in order to provide insight into how a person's history and the cultural, social and historical contexts of their life can determine their life choices. It is concluded that it is not possible to study older people's leisure behaviour through 'snapshot' research (which isolates one moment in time); instead, to more fully understand how their leisure and tourism experiences are constructed, the researcher must try to engage with the context from which those experiences emerged.
Sedgley, D., Pritchard, A. and Morgan, N. (2006) 'Understanding older women's leisure: The value of biographical research methods', Turizam: međunarodni znanstveno-stručni časopis, 54(1), pp.43-51.
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