Roots and Routes : Life stories of exiled Hungarian women in Sweden
Abstract: Popular Abstract in English How do people shape a life in exile? What does nation or homeland mean in such a life situation, and how is the inevitable social and moral turbulence – embedded in the migrant’s biography – employed and interpreted by the migrant herself? This study addresses these issues through an imaginative analysis of five life stories as presented by Hungarian women living in Sweden. The author shows that exile stories revolve around rescuing and restoring things from the past, around reinventing the concept of what is left of a home. The stories speak of lives lived internally, in which one’s present becomes radically different from one’s past and in which a former homeland is transformed into either an idealized or a demonized realm. A society’s grand narratives do not necessarily define an individual’s experiencevof life in exile. Rather, one must listen to what personal narratives say. Katalin Henriksson is a linguist and narrative analyst in Lund, Sweden. She has spent many years exploring the cultural and symbolic universe of Hungarians in Sweden.
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