Life story in institutional contexts - looking for a past and a future
Department of social sciences and philosophy University of Jyväskylä Jyväskylä, Finland
This paper focuses on describing the reflective storytelling of middle-aged rehabilitation customers. The data comes from a larger study of ageing workers experiences of rehabilitation and experienced situation in personal life course. The qualitative data includes interviews and other conversations of rehabilitation customers. Entering rehabilitation means that one's personal life, various circumstances in one's life history and assumed future are evaluated and focused on alongside the physical status. In this paper the narration of life will be approached from the point of view of agency, communication and recollection.
This type of agency opens up view on the human life course, self and personal history as a reflected and structured component of the self. Biographical agency is based on one's emotional experience of time and space in a social situation. In the context of interaction in rehabilitation the ways of framing one's personal history were connected to the relationship of one's current life situation and individual agency. Old age and future expectations were constructed by means of images of the physical body, capability and work. As emotional experience, aging seemed to concern feelings of insecurity, dependency but also freedom.