Accepted Paper:

Pensioned Norwegians in Spain: adaption, networking and identities in making  


Klaus Michael Thomsen (Østfold University College)
Anne-Grethe Gregersen (Østfold University College)

Paper short abstract:

We have studied Norwegians who moved to Spain after being pensioned because of chronic diseases. If they want a social life they have to make new friends and social networks in Spain. How do they do that, who gets together with whom, and why?

Paper long abstract:

The region around Alicante was, and is, a popular place to go for holidays. Many Norwegians spend their vacations here, and in the last twenty years a growing number of them have invested in a flat or a house in the region, and moved here for good. Some of these people are old, some have a chronic illness, and some are disabled in some way. Most of them have their livelyhood from pensions. The work-free income from Norwegian funds make it possible to start a new life in Spain.

The migaration process do not seem to be organized. It rather seem to be based on individual choices: They just decide to move, sometimes alone and sometimes with a spouse. This means that relatives and friends are left at home.

Norwegians can easily be isolated in their new home-land. But they know that, and try actively to fight such a destiny. In Spain they have plenty of free time, and a job to do getting a meaningful social life. It helps that some many of the Norwegians here are in the same situation.

We want to show that the construction of identity is a parallel process to that of connecting and making new friends. Both processes require that you "do good" for other Norwegians here. You use whatever you master ore can impress with - as long as other wants to participate.

We think this is connected to interests, to their perception of themselves/identities, and that strategies in making the new small-scale "society" is also connected to self-interests. Doing good means you are doing something good for yourself too!

We also want to have a closer look to the fact that Norwegians here seldom include persons of other nationalities, and this might tell us about strategies other immigrants uses, for example immigrants that have moved to Norway.

Panel W101
Getting behind 'no man is an island' phrase: volunteering between altruism and self-interest