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    "Is there a way back to me, for me"? Older men's stories of Life, Loss, Connection and Community Development.

    Coombes, Thomas (2021) "Is there a way back to me, for me"? Older men's stories of Life, Loss, Connection and Community Development. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    It is well documented that older men do not connect in any real way with community work, are difficult to engage with, and are at risk of isolation. This narrative inquiry tells the story of six older men (55+) living on the margins of society in a public sheltered housing complex in Dublin and how they talk about their engagement with a local community development project. The participants were selected from the many older men that engage with the local community development project, that were interested in sharing, as well as being capable of telling their story. The study is located within the interpretive paradigm where the narrative methodology approach involved un-structured, participant led interviews which maximized the potential for important discovery, particularly when combined with the researcher’s long-time relationships that had been built over many years of working with the participants. Data collection took place over numerous hours of conversational type interviews and observation; stories were elicited, while also employing a constant back and forth researcher/participant clarity checking process. The study was guided by an ethical imperative, embedded within community work values, and the relational ethic of narrative inquiry. The findings reflect the struggle facedby the participants in dealing with poverty, inequality over a lifetime, invisibility disconnection, unemployment, and loss of identity,struggle for redemption, love and loss,onset of old-age and the subsequent loss of their masculinity script. Participants displayeda strong sense of longing to belong, while dealing with personalized blame and regret fortheir perceived failure as men. The findings emphasised the important work of the local community development project, and the imperative of trusting relationships between community workers and the people they engage with. Engaging in community development as well asthe research process created in the participants a sense of agency,renewed purpose, self�belief that grew throughout the study. In order to create positive change, when working with older men, we need to create conditions and environments where those who are seldom heard feel that their voice is relevant, listened to, understood, and acted upon.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Life; Loss; Connection; Community Development; Men's Stories;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Applied Social Studies
    Item ID: 14922
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2021 14:29
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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