Conclusion: Performing age

Recent work within geography has highlighted the performed nature of identity. This approach has been very useful in deepening understandings of the ways gender and sexuality, for example, are not fixed or given but continually performed and endlessly capable of disruption and reinvention. There has been very little work approaching age in this way, although such an approach offers many insights into the relational nature of geographies of age. The imperative to address ageism informs geographies of age just as the imperative to address sexism informs feminist geographies. However, in highlighting the pernicious nature of age discrimination it is important that the geographers do not treat those most vulnerable to ageism as passive victims, but emphasizes their agency and competence. Engaging with the performativity of age based identities and practices can help draw out this agency and the potential to disrupt as well as re inscribe age based norms. Participation also offers great potential to contribute to relational geographies of age, both highlighting the diverse ways in which actors participate in the performance of age and in terms of the contribution participatory research approaches can make to these geographies. Participatory research is particularly well suited to the creation of knowledge which is relational, intersectional, and empowering and thus has an important role to play in developing relational geographies of age. Geographies which approach all people, irrespective of age, as different, yet equal and actively performing their identities may be better able to embrace, understand, and engage with the diversity and fluidity of childhoods, youthhoods, and adulthoods.