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Multigenerational living in London.

Multigenerational living in London: age, gender and the (post)pandemic

‘Home’ has taken on new meanings during the (post)pandemic. In what has been called the ‘new normal’ home has expanded to include work, education and leisure/social space. This project investigates the (post)pandemic experiences of London Multigenerational Households (MGHs) in relation to gender and age.

MGHs often exist due to affordability, caring responsibilities, religious and/or cultural norms. We want to find out how the pandemic has affected London MGHs. We will examine belonging, making sense of home, and living multigenerationally during the (post)pandemic, focusing on everyday spatial and temporal practices. Our research will catalogue and analyse how people divide and share time, space and activities.

We will be conducting surveys and interviews through 2021 to ask:

  • How do age and gender inform ways that household space is managed, planned, experienced and negotiated by different household members (who does what, where, and when, in which spaces)?
  • How do age and gender inform divisions of labour and leisure (how are domestic and emotional labour, and caring responsibilities, divided)?
  • How do age and gender effect media consumption (how are computers, televisions, internet access, tablets etc shared)?
  • How do age and gender inform interactions with the ‘outside world’ (working outside the home, shopping, seeking medical care, etc)?

This research is important in terms of how we might deal better with future pandemics and ways that housing and community support need to change. The findings will improve sociological understandings of the pandemic's effects on MGHs so that they may be better served by the government and the third sector in terms of a) future housing/health design and b) more targeted and nuanced governmental advice/preparation in future pandemics or crises.

Covid-19 has intensified existing questions about MGHs and this pilot research will provide fast, publicly available insights followed by data-driven theory and policy-focused outcomes. This will lead to policy recommendations around gender and age in housing as well as enhanced community support for a still unrecognised demographic. The qualitative data will allow us to form rich sociological insights that quantitative research cannot yield, filling a lacuna by contributing knowledge useful in the development of complex government policies that work with the intersections of home, wellbeing and health.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Meredith Jones - Meredith Jones is Director of the pan-university Institute for Communities and Society.  Her latest book, Beautyscapes: Mapping Cosmetic Surgery Tourism (written with Ruth Holliday and David Bell) won the 2020 Foundation for Sociology of Health and Illness Prize. The book is based on extensive fieldwork carried out in Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Tunisia, Spain, and Czech Republic. It also comprises digital research into cosmetic surgery websites and cosmetic surgery communities on social media. She is active in the creative industries and founded the Trunk series of books with artist and designer Suzanne Boccalatte, which includes curated collections of artworks and essays about Hair and Blood. Meredith is a transdisciplinary scholar who works at the intersections of feminist theories of the body, media and communications, gender studies, and cultural studies. She is particularly interested in popular culture, visuality, and embodiment, and has published widely in these areas. Her chapter 'Media-Bodies and Photoshop' is a good example of how she links them. She often speaks publicly about social media, popular culture and feminism, and is an expert on the socio-cultural aspects of the Kardashians. She hosted a scholarly Kimposium! in 2015 and Kimposium! The Sequel will be held in September 2021. Her first book, Skintight: An Anatomy of Cosmetic Surgery, is a widely-cited foundational text in studies of makeover culture, cosmetic surgery and feminist theories of the body. Her other books include a major collection of feminist writing about cosmetic surgery that she co-edited with philosopher Cressida Heyes, Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer.  Qualifications PhD in Cultural Studies, University of Western Sydney, 2006 BA Hons. in Women's Studies, 1st Class, University of Sydney, 1998

Related Research Group(s)

Global Lives

Global Lives - Research conducted in the Centre addresses the challenges facing society, helping to change the lives of people around the world by bringing economic, social and cultural benefits.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 22/10/2021