Skip to main content
Article
Revealing a master narrative: Discourses of Retirement Throughout the Working Life Cycle
Management Communication Quarterly (2012)
  • Frances Smith, Murray State University
  • Debbie S. Dougherty, University of Missouri
Abstract
Retirement is an expected phase of life that is made meaningful through social
discourses such as master narratives. This study identified and explored
a master narrative of retirement. Eighty-four individuals were interviewed
representing four work experience phases. A thematic analysis revealed a
master narrative of retirement that shaped expectations for retirement. Participants
consistently narrated retirement as the ultimate marker of individual
success and freedom. Two fractures appeared in this master narrative: the
freedom/routine fracture and the individual responsibility/universal expectations
fracture. These fractures created tension within the master narrative of
retirement. This study has implications for social class as well as implications
for the ways in which master narratives are interwoven into the cultural
fabric of society.
Keywords
  • master narrative,
  • retirement,
  • social class,
  • work-life cycle
Publication Date
2012
DOI
10.1177/0893318912438687
Citation Information
Frances Smith and Debbie S. Dougherty. "Revealing a master narrative: Discourses of Retirement Throughout the Working Life Cycle" Management Communication Quarterly Vol. 26 Iss. 3 (2012) p. 453 - 478
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/frances-smith/1/