Ageing ‘on the edge’: later-life migration in the Azores

Sampaio, Dora Isabel Martins (2018) Ageing ‘on the edge’: later-life migration in the Azores. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis looks at the diversity of living and ageing experiences in the Azores, exploring the complex intersections between migration, place and older people through a relational lens. It seeks to make a number of original contributions: mapping out the ageing–migration nexus within geographical research; bringing together, under a common theoretical framework, three different types of later-life migrants – labour, lifestyle and return migrants – seldom looked at in a comprehensive comparative manner; putting in dialogue the narratives of migrants and non-migrants; and tapping into a distinctive and, thus far, largely overlooked geographical setting – the Azores. This is a research dually ‘on the edge’: for its geographical focus on a nine-island archipelago remotely located in the North Atlantic, and by examining a migrant population chronologically ‘at the extreme’ of the age spectrum. The research is empirically grounded on in-depth life narrative interviews, complemented by other research techniques such as participant observation, a focus group, and photography.

The thesis offers several key findings: above all, it exposes later-life migration as fundamentally diverse and shaped by migrants’ aged, gendered, classed, and ethnicised subjectivities; ageing is seen as a fluid process and an ongoing social construct. Later-life (migration) should be viewed as not necessarily vulnerabilising, but potentially empowering and liberating; and later-life migration decision-making is found to be complex and multi-layered, showing that economic and lifestyle motives can no longer be analysed separately and that a holistic approach is crucial for a richer understanding of the migration process. Stemming from this, four themes emerge from older migrants’ living and ageing experiences in the Azores: ‘home’ and ambiguous belongings; cultures of ageing and ageing care; ageing in specific relation to place; and intimacy, loss and their negotiations. These show the importance of moving beyond simple binaries of older age as ‘progress’ or ‘decline’, and recognising later-life as an active negotiative process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography > HB0848 Demography. Population. Vital events > HB1951 Population geography. Migration > HB2127.45 Atlantic Area. Atlantic Ocean islands > HB2127.5 Azores
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 17:00
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2018 17:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72966

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