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Identity work and the `unemployed' worker: age, disability and the lived experience of the older unemployed

Riach, Kathleen and Loretto, W (2009) 'Identity work and the `unemployed' worker: age, disability and the lived experience of the older unemployed.' Work, Employment & Society, 23 (1). pp. 102-119. ISSN 0950-0170


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This article seeks to explore how older individuals negotiate and manage their self-identity in relation to work whilst situated outwith paid employment. After reviewing the current positions of the older unemployed in the UK, noting the substantial overlap between age and disability, we turn our attention to conceptualising the lived experiences of individuals through exploring ‘identity work’ as a means of understanding a non-working work identity. Based upon focus group interviews, our empirical analysis focuses on key dimensions of participants’ identity practice and how they sought to manage the following social processes: imposed identities, crafting working identities; and contesting unfavourable working identities. The conclusion contextualises the findings against a backdrop of increasing individualistic discourses underpinning approaches to employability, closing with the policy implications arising from this study, and making suggestions for future research agendas.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Kathleen Riach
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2011 09:45
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2011 10:37

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