Learning in retirement: Developing resilience and becoming a resourceful practitioner of life

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The aim of this paper is to highlight the significance of symbolic resources for people in later life in retirement as a transition process. They learn to build resilience by seeking meaning and purpose in life and become resourceful practitioners of life as they experience the transitions of change and ruptures necessitated by retirement. The study draws on a theoretical framework consisting of sociocultural theory and related perspectives. This framework enables me to capture the dynamic ways in which people in later life learn to take control and overcome adversities and life challenges, in which they seek a new meaning of life, identify the life purpose, master new skills and creatively use social support. As an illustrative example I present a single-case interview-based study of a person in retirement. A thematic analysis of the interviews shows how she uses symbolic resources and draws on relational agency to meet her current needs, pursues new-found passions and achieves life goals. Lastly, I address theoretical implications for furthering the project on learning in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100463
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
Early online date8 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Learning in later life
  • Relational agency
  • Resilience
  • Retirement
  • Symbolic resources
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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