a1 Department of Health, Aging and Society, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
a2 Centre for Global and Social Analysis, Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada.
a3 School of Population Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
This paper describes how space and place have been understood in gerontology as phenomenon that are both physical and social in character, yet are relatively bounded and static. The argument is posed as to how, following recent developments in human geography, a relational approach might be adopted. Involving a twist in current thinking, this would instead understand space and place each as highly permeable, fluid and networked at multiple scales. Moreover, it is proposed that the concept of ‘affect’ might also be insightful, recognising space and place as being relationally configured and performed, possessing a somatically registered energy, intensity and momentum that precedes deep cognition. Three vignettes illustrate the relationalities and affects in the lives and circumstances of older people, and how focusing more explicitly on them would allow for a richer understanding of where and how they live their lives. The paper closes with some thoughts on future theoretical, methodological and disciplinary considerations.
(Accepted May 21 2012)