Special issue and podcast
From Human Relations
This special issue outlines the historical and social context of retirement as a concept and identifies some of the most dramatic broad-based forces of change that in recent years have shaken this established construct to its core. Retirement involves a set of institutional arrangements combined with socio-cultural meanings to sustain a distinct retirement phase in life course and career pathways. The articles outline that recent forces of change may lead to reinvention of retirement. There are factors that must be recognized as having a significant impact such as the fact that life expectancy and health status of adults over 60 has increased dramatically in recent years. Reinvention could involve change to one or more of the institutional arrangements supporting retirement. New financial risks and uncertainties loom large, as national and corporate pension arrangements are reconfigured to deal with ongoing financial turmoil. The special issue considers the future of retirement and emphasises that understanding how retirement pathways are changing, and what is influencing them will remain a challenging research task. Institutional changes will be important, but are far from the only influences.
Sargent, L., Lee, M., Martin, B., & Zikic, J. (2013). Reinventing retirement: New pathways, new arrangements, new meanings Human Relations, 66 (1), 3-21 DOI: 10.1177/0018726712465658
Retirement involves a set of institutional arrangements combined with socio-cultural meanings to sustain a distinct retirement phase in life course and career pathways. In this Introduction to the Special Issue: ‘Reinventing Retirement: New Pathways, New Arrangements, New Meanings,’ we outline the historical development of retirement. We identify the dramatic broad-based changes that recently have shaken this established construct to its core. We describe the main organizational responses to these changes, and how they have been associated with shifting, multiple meanings of retirement. Finally, we present a model that frames two general forms of reinvention of retirement. The first involves continuation of the idea of a distinct and well-defined period of life occurring at the end of a career trajectory, but with changes in the timing, the kinds of post-retirement activities pursued, and meanings associated with this period of life. The second represents a more fundamental reinvention in which the overall concept of retirement as a distinct period in an individual’s life is challenged or rejected, whether because it is not appealing or no longer realistic. We provide examples of how both types of reinvention may manifest in individuals’ careers and lives, and suggest future research directions that follow from our model.