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Grey and Pleasant Land? An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Connectivity of Older People in Rural Civic Society

The impact of population ageing in rural areas is relatively under-researched in the UK. The aim of this interdisciplinary research programme is to investigate the circumstances, experiences and quality of life impact of older people's inclusion ('connectivity') in rural civic society. The research employs a mixed methods framework of quantitative and qualitative methods and perspectives from the arts and humanities, transport studies, the social and geographic sciences and informatics to characterise key aspects of older people's connectivities (ie, cultural, spatial, social, economic and technological) in rural community life and the role which these links play in facilitating civic engagement. The research is being carried out in six case study areas in South West England and Wales and addresses the following principal questions:

  • How and in what ways are older people connected to civic society in these rural settings?
  • What is the impact of this connectivity on older people's quality of life in rural areas?
  • How is later life experienced across diverse rural contexts and within subgroups of older people?
  • How can novel interdisciplinary approaches be used to capture and disseminate evidence about older people's participation in and contributions to rural civic society, ie, as a source of rural community capital?