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No place for old women: a critical inquiry into age in later working life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2016

Centre for Women's and Gender Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, Humanities and Teacher Education, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.
Centre for Care Research, NTNU in Gjøvik, Norway.
Department of Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Southampton, UK.
Address for correspondence: Ann Therese Lotherington, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, P.O. Box 6050 Langnes, 9037 Tromsø, Norway E-mail:


Western countries currently face pressing demands to transform the labour market participation of older workers, in order to address the pressing economic and social challenges of an ageing population. However, in this article we argue that our understanding of older workers is limited by a dominant discourse that emphasises individuals rather than organisations; and valorises youth as the performative aspiration for all workers, regardless of age. To see things differently, and to see different things, we offer a novel analytical synthesis that combines insights from post-foundational feminist theory, the 2007 film No Country for Old Men and an empirical study of older nurses working in the Norwegian public health-care system. Our aim is to provide the foundations for alternative interventions in the world of work that might underpin a more sustainable future for older workers.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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