Narrating Future Selves: Perspectives on Ageing from a Scottish Cohort Born in 1936


  • Jane Elliott University of Exeter
  • JD Carpentieri University College London



Scotland, cohort, narrative, future, generativity, planning


In this paper we investigate the perspectives individuals take on their future at a particular chronological age, the late 70s.  We seek to provide insights into the diverse ways that older people incorporate narratives about possible future selves into their decision making and planning for the future, and how this supports wellbeing. This paper is based on detailed analysis of qualitative biographical interviews conducted with 33 men and women who were all born in Scotland in 1936.These individuals were chosen because they formed part of a longitudinal cohort study called the ‘6-day sample study’ that was initiated in Scotland in 1947. The material we draw on enables us to examine individuals’ biographical narratives as recounted in a research interview alongside insights into individual capacities and wellbeing derived from more structured quantitative questionnaires. We are interested in the presentation of the ageing self in an ethnographic interview, and how these presentations may complement or conflict with insights from the structured quantitative data collected in the study.

Author Biography

Jane Elliott, University of Exeter

Professor of Sociology

Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology


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