Affective Patterns Related to Unemployment

Experiences of Jobseekers Aged 50+ in South-Eastern Finland

Keywords: affect, ageism, emotions, jobseeking, unemployment


This study explores the affects and emotions linked to unemployment. It is based on 30 interviews of jobseekers aged 50+ in South-eastern Finland. The area in which the jobseekers live has had relatively high unemployment rates and the study participants have also experienced age discrimination, which makes their situation especially difficult. The article analyses the affective ex- periences of being unemployed and looking for a job.

Firstly, we found that the affective pattern of losing one’s job consisted of a sense of shock and shame influenced by the societal image of the unem- ployed. Secondly, we found that applying for jobs and not being successful was a highly shameful and humiliating experience. This can be interpreted as an affective pattern arising from not living up to the social ideal of a successful person being someone with a job, and simultaneously constantly experiencing rejection by employers. Further, we found that the interviewees felt powerless when dealing with TE services (employment services), as these have become increasingly digitalised and depersonalised, and are perceived as conducting some age discrimination practices.

Label for peer-reviewed scholarly publications
Dec 15, 2019
How to Cite
Steel, T., & Rinne, J. (2019). Affective Patterns Related to Unemployment: Experiences of Jobseekers Aged 50+ in South-Eastern Finland. Ethnologia Fennica, 46, 61-83.