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Vad är det att åldras? : en etnologisk studie av åldrande, kropp och materialitet

Alftberg, Åsa LU (2012)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Alla människor åldras, och denna avhandling berör äldre människors åldrande. Vad händer när kroppen åldras och förändras? Hur påverkas vardagliga händelser och situationer?

Avhandlingen visar att det är inte bara kroppen som förändras. Som äldre person måste man också hantera de föreställningar som finns om att vara gammal. Vanligtvis tänker vi på åldrande och ålderdom som detsamma som sjukdom och ohälsa. Det påverkar hur människor ser på att bli äldre och hur man ska leva som pensionär. En annan viktig föreställning är att vi ska vara aktiva och leva hälsosamt för att motverka åldrandet. Men erfarenheten av att åldras handlar också om att möta vardagliga situationer på nytt sätt.... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Alla människor åldras, och denna avhandling berör äldre människors åldrande. Vad händer när kroppen åldras och förändras? Hur påverkas vardagliga händelser och situationer?

Avhandlingen visar att det är inte bara kroppen som förändras. Som äldre person måste man också hantera de föreställningar som finns om att vara gammal. Vanligtvis tänker vi på åldrande och ålderdom som detsamma som sjukdom och ohälsa. Det påverkar hur människor ser på att bli äldre och hur man ska leva som pensionär. En annan viktig föreställning är att vi ska vara aktiva och leva hälsosamt för att motverka åldrandet. Men erfarenheten av att åldras handlar också om att möta vardagliga situationer på nytt sätt. Självklara rutiner, ting och platser blir synliga och något som man måste reflektera över. Vardagen blir en måttstock på hur mycket personen har åldrats. Dagliga rutiner och föremål används för att mäta vad man fortfarande klarar av och har stor betydelse för upplevelsen av den egna identiteten, att man kan fortsätta vara sig själv. Att åldras lyfter fram existentiella frågor om identitet och självbild, frågor som formas av kulturella föreställningar, normer och värderingar.

Avhandlingen bygger på intervjuer med kvinnor och män mellan åttio och nittio år och diskuterar hur kulturella föreställningar och normer tillsammans med kroppsliga förändringar formar upplevelsen av åldrande och hög ålder. (Less)
Abstract
This dissertation aims to explore and describe ageing and old age from an ethnological perspective and create a deeper understanding of the complex nature of ageing by focusing on how cultural concepts and the ageing body together shape the experiences of old age. The theoretical basis is a phenomenological perspective, highlighting the relation between the body and the materiality of everyday life. Objects, places and routines are viewed upon as existential tools, part of the process of creating meaning.

This is a qualitative study; the material consists of interviews, participant observations and an ethnological questionnaire sent out through the Folk Life Archive at Lund University. The participants are both men and women and... (More)
This dissertation aims to explore and describe ageing and old age from an ethnological perspective and create a deeper understanding of the complex nature of ageing by focusing on how cultural concepts and the ageing body together shape the experiences of old age. The theoretical basis is a phenomenological perspective, highlighting the relation between the body and the materiality of everyday life. Objects, places and routines are viewed upon as existential tools, part of the process of creating meaning.

This is a qualitative study; the material consists of interviews, participant observations and an ethnological questionnaire sent out through the Folk Life Archive at Lund University. The participants are both men and women and they are eighty years or more.

The study shows how the ageing process makes the materiality of everyday life become apparent. Well-known objects transform from invisible and taken for granted, to visible and something reflected upon. Likewise, the ageing body makes habits and routines emerge and come into sight. Old age requires flexibility, a readiness to reshape, invent or end ordinary habits and routines. Routines also organize time, and when the biological and the cultural rhythms differ, it is something the individual has to relate to in thought and in action.

Just as objects appear and become visible and reflected upon, so do places emerge. Places outside the home show that ageing and old age tend to make the boundary indistinct between the experience of being a subject and the experience of being categorized as an “old person”. At home, such a categorization is less important, since the home environment has the power to strengthen the individual´s subjectivity and identity.

The ageing process may also entail the incorporation of new objects, intended to compensate or replace bodily functions. Since these objects are associated with decline, decay and infirmity, it can be difficult to adapt and integrate them into everyday life. Such objects imply taking on an identity as an “old person”, which might feel alienating.

When the participants describe their daily life, they express the feeling that it is everyday materiality that has changed, not themselves or their bodies. The conclusion is that the ageing process occurs in the relation between the body and the surrounding world and its objects. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Docent Beatriz, Lindqvist, Södertörns högskola
organization
alternative title
What Is it to Grow Old? : An Ethnological Study of Ageing, Body and Materiality
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ageing, old age, culture, health, body, materiality, everyday life, routines, phenomenology
pages
176 pages
publisher
Lunds universitet
defense location
Sal 201, Kulturanatomen, Biskopsgatan 7, Lund
defense date
2012-09-21 10:15
ISBN
978-91-7473-341-9
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
08ab2157-84c8-4e58-806f-5d962e26e540 (old id 3044697)
date added to LUP
2012-08-24 13:44:19
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:03
@phdthesis{08ab2157-84c8-4e58-806f-5d962e26e540,
  abstract     = {This dissertation aims to explore and describe ageing and old age from an ethnological perspective and create a deeper understanding of the complex nature of ageing by focusing on how cultural concepts and the ageing body together shape the experiences of old age. The theoretical basis is a phenomenological perspective, highlighting the relation between the body and the materiality of everyday life. Objects, places and routines are viewed upon as existential tools, part of the process of creating meaning.<br/><br>
This is a qualitative study; the material consists of interviews, participant observations and an ethnological questionnaire sent out through the Folk Life Archive at Lund University. The participants are both men and women and they are eighty years or more.<br/><br>
The study shows how the ageing process makes the materiality of everyday life become apparent. Well-known objects transform from invisible and taken for granted, to visible and something reflected upon. Likewise, the ageing body makes habits and routines emerge and come into sight. Old age requires flexibility, a readiness to reshape, invent or end ordinary habits and routines. Routines also organize time, and when the biological and the cultural rhythms differ, it is something the individual has to relate to in thought and in action.<br/><br>
Just as objects appear and become visible and reflected upon, so do places emerge. Places outside the home show that ageing and old age tend to make the boundary indistinct between the experience of being a subject and the experience of being categorized as an “old person”. At home, such a categorization is less important, since the home environment has the power to strengthen the individual´s subjectivity and identity.<br/><br>
The ageing process may also entail the incorporation of new objects, intended to compensate or replace bodily functions. Since these objects are associated with decline, decay and infirmity, it can be difficult to adapt and integrate them into everyday life. Such objects imply taking on an identity as an “old person”, which might feel alienating.<br/><br>
When the participants describe their daily life, they express the feeling that it is everyday materiality that has changed, not themselves or their bodies. The conclusion is that the ageing process occurs in the relation between the body and the surrounding world and its objects.},
  author       = {Alftberg, Åsa},
  isbn         = {978-91-7473-341-9},
  keyword      = {ageing,old age,culture,health,body,materiality,everyday life,routines,phenomenology},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {176},
  publisher    = {Lunds universitet},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Vad är det att åldras? : en etnologisk studie av åldrande, kropp och materialitet},
  year         = {2012},
}