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How do black Caribbean-born women living in the UK construct their experience of retirement? a discursive psychology analysis

Butler, M. (2018). How do black Caribbean-born women living in the UK construct their experience of retirement? a discursive psychology analysis. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Historically, the study of retirement has tended to adopt an androcentric bias by assuming that a woman’s experience aligns to that of a man. In addition, the focus on the experience of Caucasian participants has also been noted, with ethnic minorities considered under-researched within the field of psychology. The current study aimed to redress both of these pertinent issues by exploring how black Caribbean-born women living in the United Kingdom construct their experience of retirement. Eight women who self-identified as voluntarily retired were recruited, and data was collected through each participating in an individual semi-structured interview. A social constructionist epistemology was ascribed to, and data was analysed using discursive psychology. Of interest was how the participants’ discourse created their social reality of retirement, and what the discursive implications of this constructed meaning was for the retiree.

Three main discursive constructions were identified: connections, negotiating difference and life learning. These different constructions highlight how retirement is presented as a powerful object that has the capability to shift the retiree towards positions of destabilisation and unease. In the context of retirement, participants aligned to either a position of agency or passivity, with each creating different consequences for how retirement is constructed and the meanings derived from it. The analysis explored how, when located within a religious discourse, the impact of retirement upon the participant lessens, as well as how dominant discourses constructed in early life experiences seemingly still impact upon how the participants communicate not just their retirement but experiences more generally. The current research acknowledges the intersectionality of experience for the studied population and, in line with counselling psychology philosophy, champions the unique subjectivity of the participants’ experience. The insights gained from this study can be used as a guide for researchers and clinicians alike, to advocate the importance of maintaining cultural awareness within their practice. The limitations, implications and suggestions for future research are also considered.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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