Why do you act differently in cinemas?

There are unspoken rules when it comes to going to the cinemas. They don’t check that your phone is off or on silent as you walk in and they don’t say that you can’t talk during the movie but we abide by these anyway? Is it out of respect for those around us or is it that we never question how legitimate these rules are?

During the 1960’s, the concept of ‘Time Geography’ was theorise by Swedish geographer Torsten Hägerstand and he identifies the constraints which prevent people from acting freely in their daily lives. He explores the limitations that impact upon the social and the decisions we make to adhere to these limitations.

Capability constraints – physically limits access, including biological abilities and physical barriers

  • Unfortunately I was unable to attend the cinemas this week. It’s not that I am not incapable of attending the cinema as I only live 15 minutes’ drive away from 3 separate cinemas, have my own car and am comfortably able to afford a one-off visit to the movies. My capability constraint is that I just don’t want to go. I don’t enjoy movies in general as I dislike sitting idle for a couple of hours when I have so much to do and would rather experience things as opposed to watch them. In saying this though I do appreciate movies as an art form and I do watch them occasionally but I would rather have the capability to stop/pause/start them as I please and be in the setting of my choosing. This is why I think the rise of Netflix has occurred, along with the price of attending the movies compared to the monthly subscription.

Authority constraints – Whether you have the right to be somewhere, or if you are restricted

  • There are no authoritative issues with my attendance at the cinemas. I am 20 years old so my parents really have no control over where I go, I am not banned from any cinema establishments and nor would I act in a way which inhibits my entry. The only minor authority would be time but there’s such a thing called time management so if I really wished to, I could make time to attend a cinema.

Coupling constraints – Proximity between yourself and others

  • When I was in primary school, before I had the freedoms I have now, going to the mall or going to the movies were really the only activities I could do so it was always a thing my friends and I would do. Now though, I have no qualms about going to the movies by myself. Also now my friends and I have different interests such as going out at night, the beach or going over to each other’s houses so going to the movies is never the top of our agenda.
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