The relational making of people and place: the case of the Teignmouth World War II homefront Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • ABSTRACTBuilding on the pioneering research of a small number of gerontologists, this paper explores the rarely trodden common ground between the academic domains of social gerontology and modern history. Through empirical research it illustrates the complex networking that exists through space and time in the relational making of people and places. Indeed, the study focuses specifically on the lived reality and ongoing significance of life on the small-town British coastal homefront during World War II. Seventeen interviews with older residents of Teignmouth, Devon, United Kingdom, investigate two points in their lives: the ‘then’ (their historical experiences during this period) and the ‘then and now’ (how they continue to reverberate). In particular, their stories illustrate the relationalities that make each of these points. The first involves residents’ unique interactions during the war with structures and technologies (such as rules, bombs and barriers) and other people (such as soldiers and outsiders) which themselves were connected to wider historical, social, political and military networks. The second involves residents’ perceptions of their own and their town's wartime histories, how this gels or conflicts with public awareness, and how this history connects to their current lives. The paper closes with some thoughts on bringing together the past, present and older people in the same scholarship.

publication date

  • April 2017