My place through my eyes: A social constructionist approach to researching the relationships between socioeconomic living contexts and physical activity
Carroll, Julie-Anne, Adkins, Barbara A., Parker, Elizabeth A., Foth, Marcus, & Jamali, Soad (2008) My place through my eyes: A social constructionist approach to researching the relationships between socioeconomic living contexts and physical activity. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 3(4), pp. 204-218.
Empirical research has shown that household and neighbourhood characteristics are significantly linked to particular health-behaviour profiles. Specifically, people living in lower socioeconomic living contexts tend to be associated with less active and healthy lifestyles. However, what is not yet fully understood is how living contexts work to produce and sustain common or shared behavioural patterns. To address this question, we employed Berger and Luckmans (1966) social constructionist conceptualisation of context to study a group of residents who had recently moved from poorer living contexts to a mixed-tenure, inner city, new urban village equipped with various resources promoting a physically active lifestyle. This framework was coupled with Charmaz's (1995; 2006) social constructionist approach to grounded theory. An analysis of the qualitative data gave rise to the conceptual categories of 'being flogged up something fierce', 'running away', 'sleeping with one eye open', 'you're just fat', and 'exercise as a dream' as the key contextual influences mediating poor living contexts and low physical activity levels. A core category of 'identity management' was located. The selection of this case and the findings exhibited here draw attention to the need for a situated understanding of how particular lifestyles develop in socioeconomic living contexts. The insights need to be drawn from ‘insider perspectives’ in order to ensure more sensitive and effective interventions in the future.
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