Striving to Belong: Everyday Enactments of Belonging among Older Adults in Greenland




Greenland, Inuit, Arctic, Belonging, Uncertainty


In this article, we explore the particularities of belonging in old age for older adults living in Uummannaq in Northern Greenland. Through analysis of in-depth interviews and conversations, we investigate older adults’ relations to others and to places, and how belonging is a matter of moral and existential character. We use acts of belonging as an analytical concept to understand the everyday acts that older adults perform as their relations to family members, friends, and the community change, and their access to different places is challenged by declining health. We show how they continue to belong to others through activities such as preparing seal skin and fishing, but also how belonging can be challenged as one grows older. By doing so, we aim to show how belonging is not given or certain. Instead, it can be understood as an expression of agency when facing challenges in old age, not only in relation to others but also in how one sees oneself as an older adult.

Author Biography

Mette Mørup Schlütter, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University Platform for Inequality Research at Aarhus University (PIREAU)

Mette is currently employed at the Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University and a part of Platform for Inequality Research at Aarhus University (PIREAU). 

She is pursuing a ph.d.-degree in Anthropology at the Institute of Culture and Society, Aarhus University and the Institute of Health and Nature, Ilisimatusarfik. 


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