Breaking bored: Boredom and risk-taking practices among neighbourhood oriented greaser youth in Sweden
2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
In this paper I explore how the concept and experience of boredom becomes a vital part of the narratives and practices of young vehicle and neighbourhood oriented men and women – the greasers – in a periurban community in Sweden. How can the boredom they express and experience in relation to their (risk-taking) practices as well as to the social geography of their peers be understood from a feminist theoretical perspective? In which ways do they use boredom as an in-group strategy and how is boredom linked to (out-group) social identity? How are gender, age and place entangled in the social construction of boredom?
Keeping in mind Dalle Pezze & Salzani’s (2009) important note that boredom in fact lies at the center of contemporary society and should therefore be of vital importance for theorists concerned with theorizing society, I want to broaden the scope in order to understand why boredom has become a viable feeling and experience of young males (most notably in their teens or young adulthood) by bringing together de Beauvoir’s concepts immanence and transcendence, Ziehe’s understanding of the need for potentiating the banality of existence and Stephen Lyng’s concept of edgework (voluntary risk-taking). At a more theoretical level I argue that the (for the most part negative) depictions of boredom in research do not take into account the complex ways feelings and experiences of boredom can be used as a social and cultural resource among young people. My aim is then to use and in some ways revise de Beauvoir’s, Ziehe’s and Lyng’s theoretical contributions by specifically addressing boredom as a backdrop for my research subject’s practices. In this theoretical endeavor, I critically address how the cultural and social construction of boredom and masculinity are tightly intertwined.
The ethnographic material I draw upon in this paper originates from the fieldwork I carried out in a periurban community, Samplinge, in Sweden in year 2010. The field work consisted of participant observation of regular visitors aged between 15 to 18 years old (fifteen boys and seven girls) at the local youth center and a central meeting place in the community in the evenings – the local shop’s entrance courtyard – as well as six group interviews and twelve individual interviews with the same visitors. These visitors are known as the local greasers. I have also conducted what I call ride alongs where I have been a passenger in some of the greasers’ cars. Also, seventeen pupils from grade nine in the local high school – not regular visitors of the youth center – were interviewed, in groups of two (thirteen interviews) or individually (four interviews). All in all thirty five interviews have been executed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
gender, masculinity, age, place, spatial boredom
kön, maskulinitet, ålder, plats, rumslig tristess
Social Sciences Gender Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89924OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-89924DiVA: diva2:610440
In relation to what? - Critical Gender Studies on Masculinities and Relationality, 18-20 January 2012, Uppsala, Sweden