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|Title:||Rethinking Free Time : a Study on Boundaries, Disorders and Symbolic Goods|
|Series:||Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, ISSN 1237-556X; 236|
|Year:||2004 Thesis defence date: 2004-06-18|
|Electronic dissertation:||» dissertation in pdf-format [1458 KB]|
|Index terms:||Behaviour; Consumer behaviour; Consumption; Culture; Kulttuuri; Kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; Kulutus; Käyttäytyminen; Leisure; Vapaa-aika|
|Bibid:||307553 | Availability info (Aalto-Finna)|
|Abstract (eng):||Rethinking free time: A study on boundaries, disorders, and symbolic goods Abstract This study critically examines the contested category called free time. It aims to provide insights into this key category in consumer research that is generally accepted without critical reflection. To accomplish this task, the study brings together theoretical perspectives from symbolic and critical anthropology, critical consumption studies, and feminist studies. Through the constructs of symbolic boundaries, orders/disorders, and symbols, the study examines free time, and the complex ways in which consumption takes part in its formation. The empirical fieldwork is carried out in Finland. The primary data consist of cultural talk produced by focus groups, and they are complemented by cultural materials and fieldwork notes.
By drawing detailed attention to the boundaries of free time the study highlights the complexities and dynamics involved in this historically constructed category. It highlights the ways in which our everyday attempts to “be free” entail attempts to cope with idealized and morally loaded assumptions infused in different temporal categories. The study suggests that four symbolic battles can be identified: battle with temporal systems, battle with boundaries differentiating work and free time, dirty and clean free time, and waking and sleeping. This identification enlarges prevailing understanding of free time.
A key contribution of the study is the suggestion that, ultimately, the sub-world called free time is a mental world. Boundaries serve to differentiate thoughts, to create a symbolic world that enables one to think about the right things at the right place, and at the right time. This suggestion makes us to question the dominant way to comprehend free time in terms of the absence of work, or the presence of leisure activities, or through time-space relation. Closely related, the study makes a contribution by calling attention to the role of memory, to forgetting and remembering. By highlighting the significance of the moral division, dirty and clean, it also challenges the image of free time as a unified category. Importantly, the study opens up the concept of free time by bringing sleeping to our attention. It suggests that sleeping constitutes a significant pleasure, not a mere necessity, and therefore, it should not be excluded from free time studies at the outset.
The study also makes a contribution to symbolic consumption by suggesting a new role for consumption as manager of thoughts. While earlier studies have discussed the ways in which consumption serves to differentiate social groups, this study highlights the ways in which it also serves to differentiate and manage thoughts. Consumption hinders wrong thoughts from entering mind and so enables one to think differently. It is this very differentiation that seems to be, however, threatened in today’s society.
|Thesis defence announcement:|
Arizona State University, USA