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Rationales for a Boredom Society


Culturally, socially, and psychologically, boredom appears to be one of the defining experiences of our times. The assertion “I am bored” gives voice not just to the experience of the mundane or the unoriginal, but also to a state of unhappiness with the world, others, and even ourselves—a state that, in recent years, appears to have become more and more prevalent and impactful.

BOREDOM affects individuals of all genders and ages, and from all cultures. It seizes students in classrooms, workers in the workplace, and subjects during their free time. Boredom comes to us when we are alone or in the company of others, in front of computer screens or on exercise bikes, while standing up or sitting down. Not only is boredom a common emotional experience, it is also a powerful one.

Studies and personal stories highlight boredom’s capacity to motivate us to do all sorts of things—beneficial or harmful, moral or immoral, creative or mundane. Given both its prevalence in and influence on human life, no study of our existence can be complete without an adequate understanding of boredom’s character and its role in our lives.

It is precisely this realization about the importance of boredom in our lives that has served as the impetus for the creation of the International Society of Boredom Studies.

Boredom has now become the topic of a multidisciplinary conversation. Psychologists study its cognitive antecedents and effects and its physiological manifestations. Philosophers and historians interrogate its nature. Sociologists seek to understand its social causes and consequences. Learning experts investigate boredom’s outcomes on learning and its role in different learning environments. And the public tries to come to terms with an experience that appears to be, on the one hand, trivial and commonplace, and on the other hand, serious and profound.

The Society joins this multidisciplinary conversation and hopes to facilitate it in productive ways.

Through its various activities (the Boredom Conference, Newsletter, and others), the Society will support and promote ongoing research on boredom—it provides a venue for researchers to come together and share and discuss their work. Furthermore, in order to contribute to the public’s understanding of boredom, it will disseminate cutting-edge work on boredom and publicize activities concerning the study of boredom. Ultimately, the Society will serve as a HOME and INFORMATION HUB for anyone who is interested in boredom.