Renegotiating identity and relationships: Men and women's adjustments to retirement

Jane Parry, Helen Barnes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Retirement is frequently a period of change, when the roles and relationships
    associated with individuals’ previous labour market positions are transformed. It
    is also a time when personal relationships, including the marital relationship and
    relationships with friends and family, come under increased scrutiny and may be
    realigned. Many studies of adjustment to retirement focus primarily on individual
    motivation ; by contrast, this paper seeks to examine the structure of resources
    within which such decisions are framed. The paper examines the contribution
    that gender roles and identities make to the overall configuration of resources
    available to particular individuals. It draws upon qualitative research conducted
    with older people in four contrasting parts of the United Kingdom, and examines
    the combination of labour market and non-labour-market activities in which they are involved prior to state retirement age and as they withdraw from paid work. It explores how older people invoke various gendered identities to negotiate change and continuity during this time. The paper argues that gender roles and identities are central to this process and that the reflexive deployment of gender may rank alongside financial resources and social capital in its importance to the achievement of satisfying retirement transitions. Amongst those interviewed, traditional gendered roles predominated, and these sat less comfortably with retirement for men than for women.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-233
    JournalAgeing and Society
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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