Twinkle in the Eye

<h2>Gatherings of Retired Men in a Town Square</h2>

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Antti Wallin

Abstract

The number of retired people is increasing in Finnish towns, yet their urban spatial practices have been little studied. This article examines gatherings of retired men in a central square of a medium sized Finnish town. I have approached this topic through participant observation and interviews. In order to understand the gatherings, I use Henri Lefebvre’s (1991/1974) concepts of the production of space. I enhance the analysis of the gatherings with Georg Simmel’s (1999/1908) ideas of sociability. Retired men are attracted to the town square because of the collective sociable moment, which becomes an established part of the urban space. The social order of the gatherings is affected by the rules of sociability as well as the rules of wider society. This article aims to increase knowledge of retired men’s uses of urban space.

Keywords: retired men, gatherings, public space, lived space, sociability

Antti Wallin

YTM, projektitutkija, Turun yliopisto, Kulttuurituotannon ja maisemantutkimuksen koulutusohjelma