Collective Identities in Transnational Ageing of Russian-speaking women in Finland
(University of Tampere)
Paper short abstract:
Combining insights from transnational anthropology, anthropology of postsocialism, and the narrating identity approach in cultural gerontology, this paper investigates how Russian-speaking migrant women living in Finland account for their ageing.
Paper long abstract:
Combining insights from transnational anthropology, anthropology of postsocialism, and the narrating identity approach in cultural gerontology, this paper investigates how Russian-speaking migrant women living in Finland account for their ageing. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork in an urban-based club for Russian seniors, including written and oral life stories. The research shows that Russian-speaking women have a very strong sense of collective identity that is anchored in master stories of (post)socialism, their transnational life trajectories, and families. First, women's active participation in the club for seniors generates a site of collective identity, which draws on a shared cultural and linguistic background. Their communal workplace identities continue to nourish their ageing in Finland and their participation in the club. Second, women's family positions, in particular as mothers and grandmothers, specifically in transnational families, forms another type of collective, which defines their ageing. Third, in response to migration, women also construct a transnational collective identity, which manifests in the ways they emphasize their relatedness to both Russia and Finland through their family histories. At the same time, ageing is an intensely individual process, and the paper explores how transnational seniors experience their ageing individually yet in dialogue with these collective identities. These findings call for more recognition of transnational, non-Western, and collective-based accounts of ageing to extend the framework of cultural gerontology.
Ageing, care and transnational mobilities