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The present structure of retirement income in Australia is increasingly shaped by superannuation. Superannuation is a government-mandated and subsidised savings vehicle for individuals to address the specific problem of their own retirement income. Employers, together with individuals, contribute a percentage of the individual’s earned wages throughout the working life cycle; upon reaching preservation age and retiring, individuals may access the superannuation account. I argue that the superannuation system is a technology of governance informed by specific conceptions of time. As such, retirement is the penultimate event in a sequence of chrono-norms – typical life-defining events – earned by achieving the preceding sequence of chrono-norms in the proper order and without disruption. Such a program hinges on what Elizabeth Freeman conceptualises as ‘chrononormativity’ – the way in which hegemonic time is used to organise the individual body toward maximum productivity. Individuals whose lifetimes do not adhere to chrononormative trajectories are excluded from this system, particularly when those temporal trajectories are shaped by gender and care-based temporalities. Accordingly, this article positions the temporality of superannuation in Australia within a hegemonic time situated in chrononormativity, and then suggests an alternative theory to account for the gendered nature of care-based temporalities.


Thomas More Law School

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Journal Article

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