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Reversing retirement frontiers in the spaces of post-socialism: active ageing through migration for work

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journal contribution
posted on 09.11.2020, 13:51 by Aija Lulle
This paper reworks the notion of active ageing through analysis of a case which reverses the retirement-migration nexus – people in the post-socialist realm who approach retirement age and then migrate to begin a new working life. They are thereby introducing a new and complex arrangement to the general concept of ‘international retirement migration’. In the post-socialist world, new retirement migration frontiers emerge in the context of a severe weakening of welfare systems. I illustrate this case with data from long-term research with ageing Latvian migrant women to the UK and the Nordic countries. Even those whose old-age pensions are more or less adequate, nevertheless seek temporary employment and new cultural experiences abroad. However, the dominant trend has been towards the pauperisation of older parents and those approaching retirement age due to the significant decline in state welfare. This case of many older-age Latvians who de facto cannot retire due to low disposable income, reveals ‘reverse frontiers of retirement’: working as long as they can, pushing their personal geographical frontiers outward by emigrating for work, and making national frontiers more porous through transnational practices. Conceptually and geographically, the research holds relevance for a wider discussion of trends and contextual factors in other post-Soviet and postsocialist countries with increasing diversities among retirees.



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Ageing & Society


Cambridge University Press (CUP)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© The authors

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This article has been published in a revised form in Ageing & Society This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © copyright holder.

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Dr Aija Lulle. Deposit date: 2 October 2020