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Perceptions of birthday card messages: Negotiated, contradictory and counter-hegemonic meaning
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. (CWSG, Care Work and Social Gerontology)
2009 (English)In: The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, ISSN ISSN 1279-7707, EISSN 1760-4788, Vol. 13, no Supplement 1, s683- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Age and ageing related humour expressed in birthday cards has been suggested to support negative attitudes towards aged people. Little attention has been paid to how retired people themselves experience these messages. The objective in this presentation is to depict some of the perceived meanings of age related messages envisioned in birthday cards. The empirical material consists of six focus group interviews collected in Sweden (3) and Finland (3) in 2007-2008. Retired women and men, urban and rural, living at home and institutionalized informants of different ages have participated. In the interview different cards were used as focus- or questions to achieve a ”...culturally appropriate instrument that accurately reflected the community’s life experiences” (Willgerodt, M.A. 2003, Western Journal of Nursing Research; 25[7]: 798-814) with regards to ageism as a phenomenon. Results indicate that informants negotiate consensus to the meaning of the age related messages in greeting cards within groups. Contradictory perceptions occur between groups. Perceptions of the messages in the cards appear both positive (good) and negative (bad). There is a notion of individual discrepancy in that individuals do not conform to neither of the two mentioned. This is discussed in terms of counter-hegemonic meaning and as counteracting ageism in everyday life. It can be concluded that negative attitudes are supported according to some people, but this does not give us the complex picture. Other people, other voices explicitly claim otherwise. There is a greater picture of meanings that are perceived in birthday cards if we look at the ways in which people actually relate to the cards in everyday life. This brings to the fore the issue of human agency and the freedom we have as humans to act according to existing norms, or to resist, or simply to live.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer , 2009. Vol. 13, no Supplement 1, s683- p.
Keyword [en]
ageism, attitudes, birthday/greeting cards
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-36285DOI: 10.1007/s12603-009-0095-9OAI: diva2:353439
19th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatics
Kongressbidrag i:19th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatics.Available from: 2010-09-27 Created: 2010-09-27 Last updated: 2010-12-09Bibliographically approved

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Snellman, Fredrik
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