The third age in Poland. Pleasure and a new form of sociality
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The third age is a cultural field realised through pensioners’ leisure practices. It emerged in Western countries in the 1980s. This article is concerned with the third age in Poland and enquires into how the third age is spreading in Poland, what practices it is accompanied by, and to what extent it copies the Western pattern or how specific it is to Poland. The article analyses daily practices of later life in five locations and the discourse on old age in a popular Polish TV series. The pensioners in question are either engaged in practices of usefulness and avoidance of idleness characteristic of older people living with their family, or experience loneliness resulting from weaker family bonds. The third age is becoming more widespread due to activity opportunities provided by the public and non-profit sectors. Older people take up third age practices to escape loneliness. Pleasure-seeking, the internal mechanism propelling third age practices, is the same as in the West. What is emerging is a modern hedonism, encouraged by the media, consisting of seeking pleasure in every experience characteristic of Western consumer societies. Consumption of market leisure services is less developed in the Polish third age due to the lesser affluence of Polish pensioners.
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