For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Rusty, Invisible and Threatening: Ageing, Capital and Employability"

by Bowman, Dina; McGann, Michael; Kimberley, Helen; Biggs, Simon (2017)


Levels of mature-age unemployment and under-employment are increasing in Australia, with older jobseekers spending longer unemployed than younger jobseekers. This article focuses on two key explanations of the difficulties confronting older jobseekers: human capital theory, which focuses on the obsolescence of older workers’ job skills, and ageism in employment. Drawing upon narrative interviews with older Australians, it critically engages with both these understandings. Using a Bourdieusian analysis, it shows how ageing intersects with the deployment of different forms of capital that are valued within particular labour market fields to shape older workers’ ‘employability’. By examining how class, gender and age intersect to structure experiences of marginalization, it questions conventional analyses that see older workers as discriminated against simply because they are older.


Automation, Machines, Technology, Invisible Skill, Aged Labour, Mature-Age Employment, Australian Context


Ageing and Work

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