Geographical Gerontology: The constitution of a discipline
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Health and healthcare have always been central considerations in geographical gerontology. This paper reviews progress in this part of the field over the past decade (1995-2006) and also looks to the future. It demonstrates how geographical gerontology is currently constituted of multiple fields of empirical interest studied by multiple academic disciplines. Specifically, the continuation and development of traditional perspectives on older population health--in terms of dynamics, distributions and movements--are traced, as well as emerging post-modern perspectives and qualitative approaches that sensitively investigate the complex relationships between older people and the varied places within which they live and are cared for. Mirroring theoretical developments and diversity in the social sciences, the future research challenges that lie ahead will involve the articulation of varied and often hidden cultural practices and social processes, and hitherto taken-for-granted--as well as new--social and spatial relations, between older people, health and place. If however geographical gerontology is to meet these challenges most effectively, there has to be greater collaboration and communication within and between its constituent disciplines and diverse empirical areas. This will help it become recognized to a greater degree as a distinct discipline.
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