Special Issue "From Work to Retirement—Critical Perspectives on Normative Transitions in Ageing Societies"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Work, Employment and the Labor Market".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Anna Wanka
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Institut für Sozialpädagogik und Erwachsenenbildung, Theodor-W.-Adorno Platz 1, 60629 Frankfurt am Main
Interests: Life course transitions and retirement; ageing and technologies; age-friendly cities and communities; the re/production of social inequalities across the life course; ageing migrants; lifelong learning; practice theories; quantitative methods; mixed-methods research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

The social organisation of the life course as a sequence of education, work, and retirement has undergone radical transformations over recent decades (Phillipson, 2018). While careers are becoming more and more individualised, fragmented, and precarious, policies have turned increasingly towards the imperative of ‘extending working lives’. This has resulted in the paradoxical situation where older adults are politically expected to work longer, while the actual opportunities to do so do not always exist. Moreover, this also impacts the pathways and trajectories on which older adults transition from working life to retirement. Therefore, new forms of retirement transitions need to emerge or gain importance, such as bridge employment, encore careers, partial retirement, or transitions out of long-term unemployment.

The majority of retirement research has so far adopted functionalist or rational choice perspectives in their concerns with individual motivations to retire, institutional possibilities for retiring, and how retiring affects economic and health-related outcomes (cf. Eckerdt, 2010, Wang and Shi, 2014). In reaction to this research, more critical perspectives have acknowledged the socio-structural and institutional constraints older adults face in retiring. The institutional pathways taken by individuals towards retirement have been shown to be strongly dependent upon welfare legislation (Fasang, 2010), discourse, and norms around the ‘right’ retirement ages (Jansen, 2018) as well as individual characteristics, such as gender, health, or education (Loretto and Vickerstaff, 2015). As Phillipson (2018) has argued, retirement has itself become a ‘contested’ institution in the 21st century, fragmented across different pathways and transitions, and older adults’ (in)ability to remain in the labour market has increasingly become framed as an individual responsibility.

Consequently, this Special Issue aims to assemble contributions that critically engage with recent developments in the transition from work to retirement. Critique, in this regard, can draw on three paradigmatic traditions: (1) structuralist (targeting socio-economic structures and powerful institutions), (2) symbolic (targeting discourse and power), and (3) culturalist (targeting social practices and subjectivities). Constructive, reconstructive, and deconstructive approaches are welcome. Topics may address new and emerging transitions, discourse about retiring, institutionalised and/or everyday ageism, practices of ‘doing’ retiring, as well as the role of social inequalities and intersectionalities (e.g., gender, age, class, ethnicity, and disability).

Dr. Anna Wanka
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • life course
  • retirement
  • extending working lives
  • labour market

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
Back to TopTop