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Time, precarisation and age normality: on internal job mobility among men in manual work

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: This article explores the conditions for extended working life from an organising perspective. Based on the idea that temporality makes up a fundamental organising dimension, it discusses conceptions of internal job mobility, and if and when employees are expected to relocate to a different unit at work. The material consists of interviews with 11 men between the ages of 56 and 74, working in manual and managerial capacities at a foundry of a Swedish branch of a large international steel company. The results show that internal work mobility is regulated by normative assumptions of mobility in terms of on- and off-time. This socio-temporal order constructs younger age groups as the age normality while designating the older employees’ transitions as a normative breach. It is also shown that the temporal order constitutes a disciplining element steering employees from an early stage to plan for limitations that may arise as a result of ageism and or physical changes. The result confirms that transition to less-physically demanding tasks is a prerequisite for continuing working in a physically demanding job. These transitions are not, however, included in the socio-temporal order of the company, but are presented as the older employees’ individual problem. All together, these results show the need to introduce organisational practices and corporate strategies in the debate on extended working life.

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