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"Det är ju inte hela tiden bara lycka heller" :äldre kvinnors berättade liv- om arbete, omsorg och åldrande i landsbygdsmiljö

by Snellman, Marie-Louise, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
Even though ageing in Western society has been a major issue in research and politics in recent years, there is still a distinct lack of knowledge about elderly people and their experiences. As much of the ongoing research has focused mainly on the oldest of the old and elderly people in need of public care, research about elderly people in general is needed. Ageing in a rural environment is of interest, because research about the elderly and ageing generally concerns urban areas. The study of old women has grown during the last decades in the academic fields of social gerontology and feminist studies. Older women’s disadvantaged position has been highlighted from a structural perspective. This knowledge needs to be combined with knowledge from a micro level in order to make other experiences of being an older woman visible.The importance of considering ageing as an integral part of life has been stressed by social gerontological research during the last decades. The focus of this thesis is the life stories of ten women aged between 75 and 85 years of age. The study has two main aims: firstly, to analyse the diverse meanings involved in being a woman who was born between 1920 and 1930, and lives in the Swedish or Finnish rural countryside. Secondly, the aim is to highlight and analyse how caring is reflected in the women’s stories about their lives. A broad understanding of caring as a fundamental condition for human existence is stressed in the thesis.Life stories are never complete, nor do they cover the totality of a life lived. The life story is a story told from a certain perspective in a specific situation and the meaning in the life stories is produced through interaction with the researcher. The women who participated in the study have lived their lives through major societal transformations. Historical events that have affected women’s rights, possibilities and conditions, have served as a framework for understanding the women’s life stories in a wider context. Structural and individual conditions have been taken into account, and indicate that the enabling and limiting conditions are both multi-dimensional and vary from individual to individual. A contextual framing is needed to understand expressions of care in the life stories. The life stories make visible caring as changeable; caring is carried out differently in different contexts and situations. An extended understanding of caring makes it possible to gain additional insights into meaningful expressions of caring during the life course, and these insights reach beyond conventional definitions in theories on caring.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; Social work; INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS; Gender studies; old age; women; life stories; life course; rural environments; gender; work; caring

ISBN:978-91-7264-919-4

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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