What role does rural place play in the lives of mid-life women in Sweden and Ireland?
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Herbert, Alison. (2020). What role does rural place play in the lives of mid-life women in Sweden and Ireland? Societies, 10(4), 84. doi:10.3390/soc10040084
Rural place is a significant influencer of the ageing and states of well-being experienced by older women. This paper extends existing knowledge on gendered rural place by examining its influence on mid-life (45–65 years) women in rural Sweden and rural Ireland. This paper also examines rural place identity, self-identity and the enhancement of the self, and the multiple pathways to place attachment at mid-life. Qualitative data were gathered in 2019 from ten women living in Sweden’s rural Värmland region, and in 2012–2013 from 25 women living in Ireland’s rural Connemara region. Adopting a social constructionist approach within a lifecourse framework, methodology was informed by constructivist grounded theory, using one-to-one semi-structured interviews. These distinct studies show both similarity and difference in rural place identity and self-identity among mid-life women, and highlight nuances around place attachment, the home, social relationships, and the natural environment. The data show a compelling need for a greater consideration of the critical and diverse role rural place plays in shaping women’s experiences of ageing and well-being both at mid-life and in older age.