Ageism in Working Life: A Scoping Review on Discursive Approaches

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Background and Objectives
This review investigates the contribution of discursive approaches to the study of ageism in working life. It looks back on the 50 years of research on ageism and the body of research produced by the discursive turn in social science and gerontology.

Research Design and Methods
This study followed the five-step scoping review protocol to define gaps in the knowledge on ageism in working life from a discursive perspective. 851 papers were extracted from electronic databases and, according to inclusion and exclusion criteria, 39 papers were included in the final review.

The selected articles were based on discursive approaches and included study participants along the full continuum of working life (workers, retirees, jobseekers, students in training). Three main themes representing the focal point of research were identified, namely, experiences of ageism, social construction of age and ageism, and strategies to tackle (dilute) ageism.

Discussion and Implications
Discursive research provides undeniable insights into how participants experience ageism in working life, how ageism is constructed, and how workers create context-based strategies to counteract age stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Discursive research on ageism in the working life need further development about the variety of methods and data, problematization of age-based labelling and grouping of workers, and a focus on the intersection between age and other social categories. Further research in these areas can deepen our understanding of how age and ageism are constructed and can inform policies about ways of disentangling them in working life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e97–e111
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number2
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Aging policies, Discourses, Older–younger workers, Workforce

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2


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