During my life so much has changed that it looks like a new world to me: A narrative perspective on identity formation in times of cultural change

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Older individuals have witnessed a vast amount of cultural change during their lives. They are therefore living in a culture which differs radically from the one in which they grew up. Building on basic psychological processes of acculturation in migrants, this article develops a narrative theory on the dynamics of identity development in times of cultural change. Twenty-four individuals between 64 and 75 years, belonging to the “silent” generation and currently in their third age, were interviewed about cultural change. Content analysis of the narratives showed four themes: general remarks about cultural changes, expanding material opportunities, liberation of relationships, and increasing freedom of choice. Identifications with the past and with the present were found for each of these themes. Three ways of construing retirement, as extra time, enjoyment or liberation, were related to the identifications with past and present. The findings point out fundamental processes of identity development in a changing cultural context
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)12-19
JournalJournal of aging studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • METIS-271472
  • IR-86424

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