Ageing and Society

The ‘elected’ and the ‘excluded’: sociological perspectives on the experience of place and community in old age

a1 Centre for Gerontology, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK.

Article author query
phillipson c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


This article explores various issues concerned with belonging and identity in the context of community change and residential location. It examines the changing nature of community attachments in later life, and their impacts on the quality of old age lives. It also notes the increased importance of environmental perspectives within gerontology, not least because environments are being transformed through the diverse social, cultural and economic changes associated with globalisation. The argument is developed that globalisation offers a new approach to thinking about community and environmental relationships in later life, and that the impact of global change at a local level has become an important dimension of sociological aspects of community change. It is argued that it is especially important to apply these perspectives to older people, given that many have resided in the same locality for long periods. At the same time, globalisation also gives rise to new types of movement in old age, and is constructing an expanding mix of spaces, communities and lifestyle settings. A key argument of the article, however, is that global processes are generating new social divisions, as between those able to choose residential locations consistent with their biographies and life histories, and those who experience rejection or marginalisation from their locality.

(Accepted September 25 2006)

Key Words: environmental gerontology; community studies; globalisation; elective belonging; social exclusion; urban change.

c1 Centre for Social Gerontology, Keele University, Keele, Staffs ST5 5BG, UK. E-mail: