Struggles of being and becoming: A dialogical narrative analysis of the life stories of Sami elderly
This is the accepted manuscript version. Published version available in Journal of Aging Studies, Volume 27, Issue 3, August 2013 (PDF)
The Sami are an indigenous people living in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Historically, national states have made strong efforts to assimilate the Sami people into the majority populations, and the Sami have experienced stigmatization and discrimination. However, after World War II, there has been a revitalization process among the Sami that was pioneered by the Sami Movement and gradually adopted in broader spheres of Norwegian society. The lifespans of the current cohort of elderly Sami unfold throughout a historical period in which contrasting public narratives about the Sami have dominated. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between elderly Sami's individual life stories and contrasting public narratives about the Sami. Nineteen elderly Sami individuals in Norway were interviewed. This article is a dialogical narrative analysis of the life stories of four elderly Sami. The article illuminates how individual life stories are framed and shaped by public narratives and how identifying is an ongoing process also in late life. A dialogical relationship between individual life stories and public narratives implies that individual stories have the capacity to shape and revise dominant public narratives. To do so, the number of stories that are allowed to act must be increased. A commitment in dialogic narrative research on minority elderly is to make available individual stories from the margins of the public narratives to reduce narrative silences and to prevent the reproduction of established “truths”.
CitationJournal of Aging Studies 27(2013) nr. 3 s. 264-275
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