Livet som berättelse : Om biografi och åldrande
Sammanfattning: This dissertation’s objective is twofold: (1) to show how the life lived is reflected in old age (the articles), and (2) to analyze how life-stories are presented and interpreted from the social constructivist perspective (the comprehensive summary). Article I is a critical discussion of two biographical methods of data collection: the “freely-told” life-story and the semistructured biographical interview. Article II addresses the thesis’ first aim. This article presents the data gathered through the qualitative biographical interviews conducted with elderly Finns, which resulted in a typology of six ways of life: The bitter life and Life as a trapping pit, which end up in a problematic old age; Life as a hurdle race, The devoted silenced life, Life as a job career and The sweet life, which describe different strategies for successful ageing. Article III is a study of Life as a hurdle race, where successful ageing is reached, despite previous difficulties in life. Article IV explains the paradox of the absent body in social gerontology, in light of the dualism of the Platonic-Christian tradition between body and soul. The comprehensive summary consists of critical methodological reflections on the conducted research. This summary acknowledges how the conclusions, reached at through analytic induction, where influenced by gerontology’s two myths (misery vs. success). The summary also treats the Renaissance of biographical social research, and the conducted research in relation to the theoretical debate on “the realist perspective” vs. “the story-focused, constructivist perspective.” From the latter perspective it is shown how emplotment shapes the life-story. Finally the summary addresses the generalizability and credibility of my results; results which by virtue of the life history perspective open up for a new qualitative understanding of ageing.
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