Enjoying the third age! Discourse, identity and liminality in extra-care communities


Extra-care housing has been an important and growing element of housing and care for older people in the United Kingdom since the 1990s. Previous studies have examined specific features and programmes within extra-care locations, but few have studied how residents negotiate social life and identity. Those that have, have noted that while extra care brings many health-related and social benefits, extra-care communities can also be difficult affective terrain. Given that many residents are now ‘ageing in place’ in extra care, it is timely to revisit these questions of identity and affect. Here we draw on the qualitative element of a three-year, mixed-method study of 14 extra-care villages and schemes run by the ExtraCare Charitable Trust. We follow Alemàn in regarding residents' ambivalent accounts of life in ExtraCare as important windows on the way in which liminal residents negotiate the dialectics of dependence and independence. However, we suggest that the dialectic of interest here is that of the third and fourth age, as described by Gilleard and Higgs. We set that dialectic within a post-structuralist/Lacanian framework in order to examine the different modes of enjoyment that liminal residents procure in ExtraCare's third age public spaces and ideals, and suggest that their complaints can be read in three ways: as statements about altered material conditions; as inter-subjective bolstering of group identity; and as fantasmatic support for liminal identities. Finally, we examine the implications that this latter psycho-social reading of residents' complaints has for enhancing and supporting residents' wellbeing.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X16000556
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Aston Centre for Europe
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
Additional Information: Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: fantasy,Lacan,post-structuralist discourse theory,psycho-social studies,the Real,third age/fourth age dialectic,transitions,Geriatrics and Gerontology,Health(social science),Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health,Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous),Social Psychology
Publication ISSN: 1469-1779
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2024 08:18
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2016 14:00
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-10-01
Published Online Date: 2016-07-13
Accepted Date: 2016-04-25
Authors: West, Karen (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9071-8002)
Shaw, Rachel (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0438-7666)
Hagger, Barbara
Holland, Carol (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1846-8897)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record