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On leaving work as a calling: retirement as an existential imperative

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Mattias Bengtsson
Marita Flisbäck
Publicerad i International Journal of Ageing and Later Life
Volym 11
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 37-67
ISSN 1652-8670
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Sidor 37-67
Språk en
Länkar www.ep.liu.se/ej/ijal/2017/v11/i1/a...
Ämnesord Calling; economic exploitation; existential imperative; existential vacuum; individualisation; retirement; Sweden
Ämneskategorier Sociologi

Sammanfattning

In this article, we argue that we will reach a deepened understanding of what the retirement process means for individuals if existential meaning is the centre of attention. The data consist of qualitative interviews conducted in Sweden. A selected type of employee #2; whose work we define as a ‘‘calling’’ #2; is examined to analyse the existential meaning of work and how it is formed and challenged in relation to the retirement process. Before their retirement, the interviewees had developed threemain strategies for handling the process of de-calling: developing a ‘‘calling on standby,’’ exploring self-improvement activities and listening to callings from other social spheres. After their retirement, three main strategies arose for dealing with being de-called: conserving the calling, learning to become a self-oriented subject and redefining the calling. In the case of conserving the calling, we show how this may result in experiences of economic exploitation and existential frustration.

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