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Boredom and Social Alignment in Rural Romania.

Nicolescu, R; (2013) Boredom and Social Alignment in Rural Romania. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis is an ethnography of a village in southeast Romania. The theme of the thesis is whether people feel comfortably aligned with their objective conditions of life as they experience them. In the thesis I discuss different means by which people evaluate the relation between their ideals in life and what they see as their actual lives: from the most stable material culture of houses and possessions to ideals and aspirations for a ‘modern’ life. I explored these issues through a hierarchy of forces that act upon the individual. The highest level is the political economy and how it imposed ideologies as to how life should be lived, but also practices. The next level down is represented by the normativity of the village life, where issues of political economy are balanced with for example the autonomy that came from the church, the lenience of communism, peasant sensibility and how people judge these as well as being judged by them. Finally, I discuss the individual and the sense of appropriate alignment between the external pressures of political economy as expressed in and through one’s social category and the internal subjective sense of aspiration within those terms of who one wants to be. The thesis then focuses upon the sense of boredom as an objective appreciation of such hierarchy. I explain why and how the ethnography of boredom effectively maps out these relationships between political economy, village normativity and people subjective sense of their own alignment with the imposed social forces. Therefore, the thesis suggests that individual boredom is not simply a consequence of how society is designed to function, or actually functions, but rather boredom objectifies particular individual and group consumption of their designated social position.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Boredom and Social Alignment in Rural Romania.
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1411123
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