• Signe Hammershøj Poulsen
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
The need for research on intergenerational trauma in a cultural context is increasingly recognized as numerous researchers have highlighted intergenerational trauma as an explanation for the array of social conditions that exist within Aboriginal communities (e.g. Crawford, 2014; Brave Heart, 2003; Kirmayer, Gone & Moses, 2014; Waldram, 2004). Still relatively little is known about intergenerational trauma in a Greenlandic context. The purpose of the present master thesis is to investigate and gain a deeper understanding of how intergenerational trauma manifests in the narratives of young Greenlandic individuals in Denmark. The research question is approached through Ivana Marková’s dialogically informed understanding of The Social Representation Theory and Michael Bamberg’s Narrative Practice Approach using positioning and small stories as epistemological and analytical tools for the study of identity. A critical examination of previous research reveals that the notion of trauma is deeply rooted in western terminology which has sustained an active culture of silence in Greenlandic culture. The culture of silence is argued to be related to the internalisation of intergenerational trauma in Greenlandic culture today revealing other consequences such as high levels of suicide and complex behaviour. Furthermore, research suggests that intergenerational trauma can be traced back to the Danish colonization and modernization of Greenland, which is associated with loss of culture and marginalization. The present Danish and Greenlandic master narratives are deeply rooted in the historic relation between the two cultures, which impacts the social representations in the narratives.
This qualitative study applies participant observation and a group discussion as tools for data collection. The group discussion was conducted with six young individuals from Arctic Street Lab in Aalborg (aged 24-30) recruited through participant observation in March and April 2023. The group discussion focused on the daily lives of the young Greenlanders and the interaction between the participants in order to gain insight in their experience of being young greenlanders in Denmark. The material from the group discussion and participant observation is analyzed using a dialogical and narrative approach to study identity in compliance with the aforementioned analytical tools of Bamberg’s Narrative Practice Approach and Ivana Markovás understanding of Social Representation Theory.
The results revealed four major themes of young Greenlanders' experience of intergenerational trauma. These reveal how the participants daily experience hegemonic representations in the form of prejudice and culturally available master narratives which they are expected to construct their identity according to. Surprisingly, the participants do not only experience prejudice from danish individuals but also other greenlanders. These experiences leave the participants at a crossroad where they do not live up to the hegemonic representations of either danish or greenlandic culture leaving them with a feeling of not being greenlandic enough. The results suggest that some young greenlanders engage in counter narratives which are interpreted as a way of reclaiming cultural identity by distancing oneself from how danes and greenlanders position them. To navigate in these identity dilemmas is challenging the continuity and agency of the participants identity and therefore their sense of self. The implications of these results and future research are discussed with respect to contextual factors and previous research.
Publication date1 Jun 2023
Number of pages69
ID: 532538773