Journal of Population Ageing

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 23–41 | Cite as

Swiss Retirees as “Active Agers”: A Critical Look at this New Social Role



Similar to other countries in the European Union, contemporary Switzerland faces concerns about an ageing population, and the policy framework of active ageing is one response. Today’s retirees are asked to actively participate in society in ways that are recognized as social contributions. We argue, however, that the redefinition of the role of retiree to be an “active ager” rests upon gender inequalities, among others. As a result, this framework can reinforce the exploitation of elders, especially old women. To illustrate our argument, we draw on interviews conducted among Swiss retirees to demonstrate the ways that active ageing ignores that work in which they are engaged already, while it also rests upon and reshapes gender inequalities in later life.


Gender relations Unpaid work Ageism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Swiss National Science FoundationBerneSwitzerland

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