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Grenier, A., Griffin, M., Andrews, G., Wilton, R., Burke, E., Ojembe, B., Feldman, B., Papaioannou, A. (2019). Meanings and feelings of (im)mobility in later life: Case study insights from a ‘new mobilities’ perspective. Journal of Aging Studies, 51, Dec 2019, 100819,
Publication year: 2019

Understandings of mobility and immobility shape research and responses to late life. Yet, the underlying assumptions about mobility often remain fixed on ideas of function and physical ability. The ‘new mobilities’ paradigm shifts this analysis by focusing on the importance and experience of mobility as a thing in itself rather than a means to an end, and to the complex enactments that operate across a range of relationships, settings, sites, and contexts. This paper provides insight from an embedded case study method comprised of fifteen exploratory interviews with older people at three social locations, including 5 individuals considered ‘frail’, 5 people who are aging with a disability, and 5 older people who self-identify as ‘active’. Considered together and in contrast, the findings from these three distinct but related embedded case sites, viewed from a ‘new mobilities’ perspective, can help to understand (im)mobility as an embodied experience that is situated within and across social and political contexts, and can explicate how relations of power enhance the mobility of some, and the immobility of others. We conclude that the ‘new mobilities’ approach introduces ideas to overcome limitations of distance, movement, and place, and in doing so, serves to redefine what it means to be mobile while aging.

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