Learning to run from narrative foreclosure: one woman's story of aging and physical activity

Meridith Griffin, Cassandra Phoenix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (SciVal)
268 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, the authors construct a story of one woman's (Justine's) experience of learning to run within the context of a beginners group. Building on existing scholarship on narrative, aging, and physical activity, this work is part of a larger ethnographic project examining subjective accounts of the physically active aging body across the life course. Concerned with often simplistically linear problems of representation, the authors present a messy text that represents the complex and fluid nature of Justine's embodied tale. The aim is to show the intersection of biographical (storied) identity with health behavior choices and to interrogate the process of challenging narrative foreclosure. By using the emerging genre of messy text as a creative analytic practice, the authors avoid prompting a single, closed, convergent reading of Justine's story. Instead, they provoke interpretation within the reader as witness and expand the ways in which research on aging and physical activity has been represented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Aging
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Female
  • Great Britain
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Narration
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Running
  • Social Support


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