CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

In mid-March 2020, confinement was declared in the countries of the European area and governments issued a special injunction to people aged 65+ to remain strictly at home. Confinement raises the question of the elderly’s relationship to their home: What happens when this home, synonymous with privacy and security, becomes a constrained home and impervious to social life? How does the experience of living, in the sense of the intimate exercise of power over oneself, change when this power is only exercised in a dwelling cut off from its social and spatial environment? Elements of response are provided by the analysis of 25 confinement diaries, written by people over 65, mostly living in French-speaking Switzerland, during spring 2020. Through regular personal writing, the diaries record factual elements (activities, contacts) as well as personal feelings and thoughts. The analysis reveals that, far more than the withdrawal into forced domesticity, the main dimension running through the writings is “going out”. This dimension focuses on three key issues: food supply, physical activity and social ties.

  • elderly people
  • dwelling
  • confinement
  • Covid-19
Cornelia Hummel
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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