Art-making, immigration and identity (re)construction among Chinese elders in New Zealand

Li, Wendy Wen, Hodgetts, Darrin, Stolte, Ottilie, and Ho, Elsie (2010) Art-making, immigration and identity (re)construction among Chinese elders in New Zealand. In: Proceedings of the Fourth International Asian Health and Wellbeing Conference, pp. 52-63. From: Fourth International Asian Health and Wellbeing Conference, 5-6 July 2010, Auckland, New Zealand.

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Abstract

Psychologists have foregrounded the importance of using material culture, which refers to the corporal and tangible object constructed by humans, to explore the construction of subjectivities and wellbeing. Material culture devotes attention to objects that are used, lived in, displayed and experienced by individuals. People interact with material culture as a normal part of their daily lives. Through such interactions, material culture and human beings are strongly influenced by each other. This paper explores the role material culture such as painting plays in identity reconstruction among older Chinese immigrants to New Zealand. The methods of data collection and analysis are informed by a narrative approach. Initial and follow-up interviews were conducted with 32 Chinese adults ranging in age from 62 to 77 years. Immigration to a new culture in old age gives rise to experiences of self-discrepancy which may lead to participants' vulnerability to anxiety-related disturbances. To address discrepant self, participants develop strategies to reproduce desire for the pursuit of the ideal self and wellbeing. Older Chinese immigrants can experience self-discrepancy in the transition to a new country in later life. Such a discrepancy often invokes a sense of dislocation and loss. Using material culture participants toil to address the biographical discrepancy by regaining desire and establishing biographical continuity across time and space between past lives in China and present lives in New Zealand.

Item ID: 18423
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: arts, identity, health, older Chinese migrants, immigration
ISBN: 978-0-473-18206-9
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2011 22:18
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920502 Health Related to Ageing @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920503 Health Related to Specific Ethnic Groups @ 50%
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