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Residential mobility and the lifecourse: evidence of de-standardisation?

26th March 2015 1pm, Room 1/G/8 Ladywell House, Edinburgh

Glenna Nightingale and David McCollum, University of St Andrews

The lifecourse has long been recognised as an age graded sequence of socially defined roles and events, which can be associated with particular patterns of residential mobility. The traditional linear life stage model is increasingly dismissed as deterministic, with scholars contending that lifecourses are becoming ever more de-standardised. Whilst there has been much concern over the supposed precarious of contemporary working and family life, and thus the fluidity of mobility experiences, there is a surprising dearth of solid evidence to substantiate assumptions of de-standardised lifecourses. A longstanding challenge in this respect has been the scarcity of suitable data and methods of analysis. This research draws on an innovative methodological approach to try and shed light on the extent to which lifecourses and mobility patterns are indeed becoming de-standardised. The study adopts a randomization technique to quantify the evidence for de-standardization. This technique involves simulating populations and making comparisons to the observed data. Additional analyses carried out include logistic regression models to estimate the effect of key variables on selected mobility patterns. This approach can inform discussions about the extent of lifecourse de-standardisation, and the methodologies that can best assess it.