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Ageing and Migration


Wed 26. 8.  18:00 - 19:30
room FA 204

Old age in Norway through the eyes of elderly migrants


Bjerke, Katrine Mellingen
University of Bergen, Norway

Old age in Norway through the eyes of elderly migrants. As part of a general aging of the population in Norway and Europe, cohorts of labour migrants and refugees, who came to Norway in the 1960s onwards, are now facing old age. The transition from middle age to old age implies a shift in one`s social status and social role, and there are culturally specific norms and expectations regarding which social functions elderly people are expected to fulfill, and what is considered age appropriate behaviour. The aims of this paper is to explore elderly migrants` experiences and everyday practices when old age occurs in Norway. Based on biographical interviews and ethnographic observation I explore how elderly migrants with a polish and pakistani background relate to, experience and practice aging in Norway. I employ a transnational perspective which serves to highlight the combination of cultural values, norms and practices concerning old age in the migrant`s country of origin and in Norway. In addition to the transnational perspective, an intersectional perspective is employed where lived experiences are seen to vary according to one`s gender, ethnicity and available resources. Biographical interviews and ethnography combined with a transnational and intersectionality perspective allows for the exploration of how elderly migrant`s experiences may vary according to gender,education, former migration and labour market experiences, and the norms, attitudes and beliefs about old age from the country in which they had their primary upbringing.