A song of identity: Yoik as example of the importance of symbolic cultural expression in intercultural communication/health care

Ingrid Hanssen (1)
(1) Lovisenberg Diaconal University College – Oslo, Norway , Norway


Yoik is the old Sami form of music/singing produced according to old conventions and used in various communication contexts. A yoik referring to a particular person, a so-called person-yoik, constitutes a musical expression of that person and may be a more powerful symbol of identity and connectedness than a person’s name and may awaken memories otherwise forgotten in patients with dementia. This paper is based on a qualitative interview study on good dementia care among the Sami, the indigenous people of the northernmost part of Europe. The primary focus is on aspects of yoik related to identity and mental health in general and patients with dementia in particular. Yoik here serves as an example of the significance of culture-specific symbols and ways of expression and the importance of being open to symbols and representations foreign to us for us to become successful intercultural communicators.

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Ingrid Hanssen
Ingrid.Hanssen@ldh.no (Primary Contact)
Hanssen, I. (2011). A song of identity: Yoik as example of the importance of symbolic cultural expression in intercultural communication/health care. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 11(3), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v11i3.536

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