Préparer la Retraite: New Age-Inscriptions in West African Middle Classes
Keywords:retirement, aging, life course, Benin, middle classes
AbstractNew ways of imagining, planning and living old age are actually emerging in the republic of Benin, West Africa. This process could be understood as the dissemination of an idea of retirement from the sector of formal labor and the corresponding social security system to a general notion of a good life in the late life course. It is preceded by emerging age-inscriptions which are contouring the new up to a point that it is settled and becoming a norm or a dominant pattern. It is also linked to the emergence of new a African middle class. It is going hand in hand with the emergence of other changes in the imaginaries of the life- course, for instance new ways of living and imagining youth. Additionally, it goes along with an accelerating process of social differentiation, since living old age as retirement is, for the moment, only possible for people who are more or less doing well and able to gain the necessary resources of self-maintenance during a time after work. Thus, retirement has become, beyond the sphere of formal work, a generalized notion of new pathways of old age. However, up to now, the desire to live old age as retirement is still an emerging age- inscription and has not become the dominant norm.
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