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  • Author or Editor: Nigel Curry x
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Author: Nigel Curry

In this practice paper, a number of ‘first impressions’ from practical volunteering in community food projects are explored through academic and grey literature: the complexity of decision making; valorising the symptoms rather than the causes of problems; shunting risk; and the marketisation of both volunteering and community food projects. Volunteers, as policy takers, can only soften rather than resolve these issues. The state’s view of the advantages of using volunteers corresponds to the main difficulties of volunteering, for volunteers.

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Governments promote increased social connectivity to give power and responsibility to citizens. In England and Wales this has led to many older people’s networks and active community participation by rural elders. This can be conceptualised through social capital which can be seen as both inclusive (bridging capital), or exclusionary (bonding capital), as well as functional or power-related. While Bourdieu’s capitals explore social, economic, cultural and symbolic assets, a human ecology conceptualisation complements these with a focus on the importance of place in developing connectivity. Here, macrosystems focus on national and international influences, exosystems on external influences, mesosystems on direct influences and microsystems on individual or personal space. Further, the chronosystem can also take temporal influences into account in examining connectivity from a conceptual standpoint.

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This chapter reviews the literature on place attachment and then empirically tests conceptual models of place attachment (based on the literature) to identify the predictors of, and the pathways to, place attachment. The results of the mediation analysis demonstrate that there are distinct pathways to three kinds of connectivity between older people and the places in which they live: social attachment to place, aesthetic attachment to place and amenity/ environment-oriented physical attachment. The results demonstrate that there are discrete types of place attachment which are differentially influenced by social or environmental factors at each level of the ecological model and by the passage of time. We reflect on the applicability of our findings to those from Canadian rural communities that formed a parallel project to the UK research.

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