Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Surviving the Arctic: Narrative identity of foreign women in Norway
by Larsen, Tamar Davis, Ed.D., University of San Francisco, 2009, 163; 3374588
Abstract (Summary)

In the little-covered area of women within the realm of transnational relocation, this study strives to find new understandings that could be applied towards creating traditions that aid communities in learning to embrace the unfamiliar. In learning more about what shapes the changes in the lives of women who change cultures permanently, there is an increased possibility of understanding how cultures influence each other. In this research, I explore the unique situation of foreign women as the “spectacular other” in Norwegian society. The research focus at hand is the exploration of identity, belonging, and change into the “other” as a means of survival. This has been done through highlighting the narratives of these “others”, and though conversation illuminating their journey of transformation. I explore how this transformation of self plays a large role in how they interact with the world: how they raise their children, interact with Norwegian society, and whether they are able to find a professional life in Norway. In general, whether they are able to survive intact, with their sense of self still connected to the pre-Norway self.

The theoretical framework for this research is that of critical hermeneutics. The research protocol is that described by Herda (1999). The research categories are that of identity, solicitude and imagination, including Paul Ricoeur's theory of narrative identity (1984) and Hans-Georg Gadamer's concept of “fusion of horizons” (1988).

All seven participants are women from various parts of the world who had chosen to move permanently with their Norwegian husband to Norway. This is research that can translate into a deepening of understanding with regards to many facets of the transnational experience: immigration, new curriculum, exchange opportunities, policy change. In a world which is experiencing a flux of cultures traversing these boundaries in great numbers, understanding better the needs of peoples shifting into new worlds can help much of the misunderstanding, friction and fear that occur. While this research focuses on women who have the choice in where they chose to move, much of the relevance in terms of policy and implication can be applied towards immigrants of all natures. By exploring the narratives of women who have experienced transnational relocation, their voices can help inform policy change, as well as an ensuing shift in how homogeneous societies learn to accept outsiders. This understanding can aid in creating new immigration policy, help alter existing curriculum and further cross cultural communication.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Herda, Ellen
School: University of San Francisco
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Cultural anthropology, Womens studies, Scandinavian Studies
Keywords: Culture-change, Dual culture, Identity, Norway, Norwegian culture, Transnationalism, Women, Women immigrants
Publication Number: 3374588
ISBN: 978-1-109-35411-9
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