Promotionsprogramm "Transformationsprozesse in Europäischen Gesellschaften"

Breadcrumb Navigation


Alexandra Rau



Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Institute of European Ethnology
Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich

Phone: +49 (0) 89 / 2180 - 9632


Further Information

Dissertation Project

From working life to lifelong work? Intersectional Perspectives on precarious female age(ing)

This dissertation is part of the research-project “Precarious Retirement Work and the Conduct of Life of Women in their Pension Age” – funded by DFG and headed by Prof. Irene Götz – which is dedicated to a vehement societal problem: the experience of precariousness of elderly women. On the one hand in particular women are not sufficiently secured against poverty by old-age pensions due to a pension system, which is based on a male standard of work biography and a traditional family model. On the other hand, elderly women’s strategies of coping with poverty have not yet been subjected to detailed research.

The qualitative investigation aims to conduct biographic interviews with elderly women in Munich and will be supplemented by participant observation in their daily life worlds and social networks. One group of interviewees who are threatened by social descent in retirement age will be found in the urban middle class milieus of the city of Munich; another group will come from a more underprivileged milieu in this city, which was always forced to work beside hegemonic requirements of unpaid reproductive work. The PhD-project “From working life to lifelong work? Intersectional Perspectives on precarious female age(ing)“ will put the focus on this last group.

The main questions will be (1) in how far biographic backgrounds and social environments as well as socio-political dispositions enforce and shape poverty among elderly women and (2) what kind of practices and strategies they develop to cope with their everyday struggles against the threat of social descent. Based on the concept of intersectionality and Bourdieu’s concept of different types of capital the PhD-project wants to contribute to a deeper understanding of social mechanisms of exclusions as well as of various forms of agency of elderly women in their everyday life worlds.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Irene Götz