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Useful Reading: Organizing Age by Fineman

by on August 20, 2011

This book provides excellent coverage on a range of sociological and organizational issues associated with the construction of age bringing together material that hitherto has been scattered far and wide.  It offers a socio-historical perspective and outlines useful debates on key themes such as cohort theory and age discrimination.  While, not unusually, there is probably more attention given to the construction and positioning of “older” workers, Fineman covers a range of stereotypes and also introduces the notion of ‘gendered age’.  It is generally an easy read, touching on important theoretical orientations rather than fully engaging in these debates.

In terms of the work on our project, two specific topics prompted ideas including:

  • issues of ‘breaching’ age norms and responses to this in co-workers, how breaches of age norms are accounted for
  • use of birthdays as “motivational fodder” (p26) – literally – as the practice of providing cakes etc draws attention to chronological age at work.
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