Kvinna i ålderskodad värld : Om äldre kvinnors förkroppsligade identitetsförhandlingar
Sammanfattning: By exploring identity processes during women’s life course, this study aims at broadening the theoretical framework concerning the intersection of age and gender. Two fundamental questions are posed: (1) how do identity processes appear when an age perspective is added, and (2) how can women’s narratives about old age be understood from the social psychological identity perspective? The study is based on individual qualitative interviews with women aged 75+, which were preceded by focus group interviews. The analysis draws attention to the duality of bodily meanings: the on-stage-body and the off-stage-body. These analytical concepts call attention to the body as embodied identity claims and as bodily signs given, but not used by the actor as identity claims. The analyses also emphasize how identity processes are based on a notion of phenomena as age coded, that is, the appropriateness of behaviours as determined in relation to age. The study illustrates several parallel identity processes: face-to-face interaction, interaction with internalized significant others and with social norms. The study highlights that (1) identities can be more or less dependent on external approval and that (2) the body`s role in identity processes varies with context and interaction. The study reveals a variety of old age discourses. Depending on whether identities are coded as appropriate for old age or younger ages, the category 'old women' is both used and rejected as an in-group. In a similar vein, the dichotomy of subjective and chronological age stands out as an identity strategy. The study also shows that chronological age is used as a sufficient explanation for changed conditions, situating changes in life at the individual and biological level, whereby social aging processes are toned down, and the women’s position as actors becomes limited.
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