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We've all been told, "Too old for this, too young for that." In this masterly study Hearn and Parkin show how organizations organize human beings into categories. Calendars, chronologies and "ticking clocks" mobilize to tell us what we are and who we are becoming. Birth and death are certainties, but age and ageing are where power meets opinion.
In reviewing this book, the phrase that continually comes to mind is `at last – a serious study of ageing and organization.’ There are so many positives to this book, not least of which is the authorship of Jeff Hearn and Wendy Parkin, who build on a lifetime of high impact research on various aspects of power and diversity.
”This fascinating discourse offers subtle and subversive insights into the ways we enact age and aging. It deconstructs conventional social scripts in ways that can improve both our own self-understanding and the shape of public policy.”
Hearn and Parkin bring long careers' worth of organizational research to bear on this mission to rescue the field. They show how regimes of age structure institutions, from the rise of bureaucratic authority and trajectory of the ideal career, to the management of dependency and death in the age of pandemic. Enjoy this book for its sly humor and obvious pleasure taken in the writing. Let it inform your theory as you design your organizational research.
Combining keen scholarly insight with personal testimonies, Jeff Hearn and Wendy Parkin provide a sensitive and sophisticated analysis of age and organization. Age at Work brings together age and organization studies in a comprehensive, highly accessible and contemporary account that addresses key concerns within cultural gerontology and the critical role of age in organizational construction and inequality.
How can such a thought-provoking book – paradoxically full of strokes and dementia and other geriatric challenges - be so wonderful to engage with? What Hearn and Parkin have succeeded in producing in this new work is a comprehensive survey of just how age and organization intertwine - ambiguously. Thus, the organizations through which we experience ageing are our places of work but also our places of health care, and of death.
Age as a ‘number’ is so deceptive, as this insightful book shows. Age is infused with socially constructed meanings, shaping and shaped by organizations of all types. The authors cast a critical sociological eye over this disparate field to expose age’s varied appearances and what may lie behind them. Amongst other things, they show us how age becomes politicised, commodified and exploited at different junctures of the lifecourse.