An oral history of ageing, deindustrialisation, and the Thousand Families of Newcastle

Funding source:  ESRC New Investigator Award 

Project dates: March 2022-March 2024

This study seeks to draw theoretical and practical links between studies of deindustrialisation and critical gerontology. The research will examine the extent to which experiences of industrial rupture in the North East of England since the 1970s contribute to cumulative advantage and/or disadvantage in later life.

I am working with experts in social gerontology and epidemiology to interconnect these disparate disciplinary foci. Participants have been recruited from the 1947 Thousand Families of Newcastle study, and the oral history interviews will also capture their memories and experiences of participating in that study since birth.

The key research questions being investigated are:

  1. What are respondents’ memories of being involved in the Thousand Families Birth Cohort Study? What impacts (if any) has it had on their lives?
  2. What was the quantitative impact of deindustrialisation on workers who lost manufacturing employment?
  3. How are these impacts and changes remembered and narrated?
  4. What role does deindustrialisation play in contributing to cumulative advantage and disadvantage in narratives of ageing and later life? Are there clear causal links that can be isolated and analysed? To what extent do respondents recognise these?
  5. How do these experiences interact with factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, and class?

Interviews will be conducted over Spring-Summer 2023, and all outputs will be disseminated through this website.