Canadian Media’s Discourse on Older Workers


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  • Title: Canadian Media’s Discourse on Older Workers: Reinforcing the Dichotomy of “Good” vs. “Bad” Old Age?
  • Author(s): Isaac Nahon-Serfaty, Joelle Laplante, Martine Lagacé
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Aging & Social Change
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Aging and Society
  • Keywords: Aging in the Workplace, Older Workers, Media, Content Analysis, Ageism, Successful Aging
  • Volume: 2
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2013
  • ISSN: 2160-1909 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1917 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Nahon-Serfaty, Isaac, Joelle Laplante, and Martine Lagacé. 2013. "Canadian Media’s Discourse on Older Workers: Reinforcing the Dichotomy of “Good” vs. “Bad” Old Age?." The International Journal of Aging and Society 2 (4): 17-33. doi:10.18848/2160-1909/CGP/v02i04/57720.
  • Extent: 17 pages


The media are a powerful social agent that takes part in reflecting and shaping cultural beliefs of aging. Previous studies have shown that the media often portray the process of aging negatively and construct seniors' identity in a highly polarized manner. The current study aims at exploring the media’s perspective on aging, more precisely on aging at work. As older workers will constitute more than one third of the workforce in most industrialized countries by 2030, it is essential to understand how the media portray aging in the workplace, how they construct older workers’ identity and the extent to which they reproduce negative stereotypes of (retired) seniors. To do so, a quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the two main English and French Canadian newspapers (“The Globe and “Mail and La Presse”) was undertaken. A systematic sample of 251 articles (published between 2006 and 2010) were analyzed. Results suggest that the media discuss aging of the workforce in a mainly economic and demographic perspective and in especially negative terms. The identity of older workers is also highly polarized and masculinized, reinforcing the double standard of aging.