Gerontology, Aging, Workplace, Retirement, United States, Work, Employment
Caitrin Lynch’s book Retirement on the Line: Age, Work, and Value in an American Factory explores the meanings of work for employees of Vita Needle, a family-owned stainless steel needle factory on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts. The book is based on intensive ethnographic research undertaken by the author during 2006–2011. Working on Vita’s shop floor, side by side with factory employees, enabled the author to produce a rich, nuanced, and insightful piece of anthropological writing that not only explores “what work means for people … of conventional retirement age” (3), but also touches upon broader social issues such as aging, productivity, and work ethic in the contemporary United States. The book also includes a discussion of the place of anthropologists in the field that is extensively covered by the media—Vita Needle has been of interest to multiple journalists—and their role in producing and reproducing knowledge.