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Title: Socio-economic and demographic change in rural Aberdeenshire : as experienced by the elderly residents in two small towns
Author: Lawrence, Sheila
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 4480
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis provides a sociological exploration of rural communities in North East Scotland, and the impact of socio-economic and demographic change over the last sixty years. It charts the lived experiences of residents aged sixty-five and over, in two small rural towns in Aberdeenshire, Inverurie which is situated in the agricultural heartland, and Peterhead which is situated within the coastal fishing communities. The narrative highlights the importance of community for the elderly residents throughout their life courses, and their memories of the towns as they changed. It also alludes to the subsequent psychosocial effects they experienced. Concepts such as social bonds, social capital, collected efficacy and increasing heterogeneity are also explored. The research was approached through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and informal discussions, and Local Authority and Census data were used to identify the socio-economic trends within the two towns. In essence, it is a journey which examines the transformation of the small traditional rural communities of the 1950's, where people were connected to others through personal ties and traditions, into the larger, more complex societies of today, where people are self-sufficient and there is little integration. There is now evidence that increasing heterogeneity is deterring social integration, and some areas are now showing signs of social disorganisation. For many elderly residents these changes are producing feelings of 'social vulnerability', and many of the voices no longer use positive emotions to describe their communities, but describe their feelings in terms of, 'angry', 'frightened' and 'loss'. Through the dilution of their local language and cultural identity, the 'loss of community' proposed by (Durkheim, 1964[1893]), is now becoming a reality. For local elderly residents, whose identities were built and moulded by these communities, their loss holds great personal and emotional significance.
Supervisor: Bone, John ; Hayes, Bernadette C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Rural elderly ; Population ; Communities