Leisure in later life: plural understandings of what it means to be an ‘active’ ager

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This research asks how the general population of less active people negotiate leisure in the context of everyday later life; and illustrates how they interact with metanarratives about ageing. The methodology recognises that leisure identities are publicly constructed, but leisure is a private affair. It offers candid open accounts that enable leisure lifestyles to be analysed, providing opportunity to analyse how leisure lives are negotiated and illustrating relationships between self and culture.
The findings illustrate plural understandings of what it means to be an ‘active’ ager before covid lockdowns. They illustrate that much leisure in later life is already home based. It is cheap, familiar, comfortable and hidden from prying eyes. The correspondents choose to be at home, enjoying passive, educational and connecting leisurely pastimes. There are no individuals in this study, no independent active agers, because the very idea of an individual is undermined by their stories. When we think about the ‘active ager’ we are thinking about the individual in the liberal sense as a self-determining actor, where individuals can calculate whether certain activities are worth pursuing. But I did not find these self-interested individuals, I found deeply connected, concerned unique people. We need to pay close attention to how these ideas of active ageing impact on how honoured people feel, about how they may have to write themselves as less successful agers than others, or how it may cause discord in their homes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Apr 2021
EventLeisure Studies association virtual conference 2021: Leisure Identities, Health and Wellbeing - Solent University, Southampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20218 Jul 2021


ConferenceLeisure Studies association virtual conference 2021
Abbreviated titleLSA2021
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

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