The affective economy of the business case for mature aged workers

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Abstract

This article draws on Ahmed's (2004) concept of affective economies as a means of critically exploring the nature and consequences of the 'business case for mature aged workers': a framework that underpins recent government and corporate policy focusing on extending working lives. Contra to the claims of the business case as wholly rationalistic 'common sense' and logical, the article argues that the business case operates discursively by drawing on latent but potent circuits of emotionality. Drawing on a range of government 'best practice' resources for employers, we show how the 'rippling effects' of emotionality result in particular systems of valuation pertaining to mature aged workers and later life working. In situating these dynamics as important to a broader affective political economy, we argue this may inadvertently undermine current initiatives seeking to promote the retention and recruitment of mature aged workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-623
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • affective economies
  • age discrimination
  • ageing
  • business case
  • emotions at work
  • older workers

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