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Pursuing the Post-war Dream / Aled Singleton

Swansea University Author: Aled Singleton

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DOI (Published version): 10.23889/SUthesis.61347

Abstract

Pursuing the Post War Dream offers methods to uncover the ‘rhizome’ (Thrift, 2000) which lies below the surface: offering ways to understand the role of the past in the present day. This inquiry arises from gerontology and develops a methodology which explores how the everyday – such as stories abou...

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Published: Swansea 2021
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
Supervisor: Musselwhite, Charles ; Gower, Jon
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa61347
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Abstract: Pursuing the Post War Dream offers methods to uncover the ‘rhizome’ (Thrift, 2000) which lies below the surface: offering ways to understand the role of the past in the present day. This inquiry arises from gerontology and develops a methodology which explores how the everyday – such as stories about houses, streets and neighbourhoods – allows people from different generations to build empathy in research relationships. The work uses Caerleon, south Wales, as a case study to consider what economic, technological and social changes through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s mean for contemporary ageing populations. Caerleon is a suitable site as statistics from Newport City Council (2017) convey that a fifth of citizens are aged 65 and above. On a theoretical level, this study uses walking interviews to explore how spaces act as thresholds to memories and levels of unconscious which may not otherwise reveal themselves – connecting to phenomena considered to be ‘non-representational’ in the work of Thrift (2008) or Anderson and Harrison (2010). This thesis uses relevant literature from gerontology, human geography and environmental psychology to develop a methodological framework which focuses on space more than time, particularly by using walking interviews. We also bridge between the disciplines of social science, literature and performance by following Solnit (2017, p. 5) where she advises that artists can ‘...open the doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar.’ The case study therefore involves a practical collaboration with a performance artist to make public site-specific performances based on the interview materials. The findings are presented as a guided walk where interview materials, public walking tours, responses to performance, and other contemporary materials are mapped on a specific geography. The main philosophical contribution of this study is a methodology which better understands space as unconscious maps or indexes to more deeply-held memories and affects.
Item Description: ORCiD identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1302-3776
Keywords: ageing, place attachment, psychogeography, performance, urbanism
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences