Journal Article

Pastures New or Old? Migration, Narrative and Change

Published 1 January 2011 / By Caroline Oliver, Caroline Oliver

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The paper explores how motifs of continuity and change are used to narrate the migration process and in so doing, help construct ageing identities. Based on research with international retired migrants in Spain, the article shows how older travellers emphasize the transformational aspects asso- ciated with movement. However, the research reveals how underneath this narrative of change, there is widespread evi- dence of continuity with former ways of life. This simultaneous emphasis on change and continuity must be understood as related to the life course of migrants and the wider paradoxes in contemporary cultural expectations of ageing. Narratives of change and continuity become a convenient shorthand through which the complex emotional adjustments wrought by ageing can be expressed. They allow for retired migrants to claim "new" identities, yet still have at hand the familiar and necessary resources required to manage the challenges presented by grow- ing older away from "home."