No. 2 (2024)

The Essence of Boredom: The Definition of Situational Boredom

Published 2024-03-01


  • boredom,
  • definition of boredom,
  • situational boredom,
  • interactionism,
  • interdisciplinary

How to Cite

Finkielsztein, M. . (2024). The Essence of Boredom: The Definition of Situational Boredom. Journal of Boredom Studies, (2). Retrieved from


Boredom frequently functions as a self-explanatory phenomenon that is taken for granted, yet it is far from being one-dimensional and obvious. The paper constitutes a critical analysis of qualities of boredom employed in various definitions of boredom in order to identify those essential for the phenomenon. The main goal of the paper is to provide a summative reflection on definitions of boredom and to propose an integrative definition of situational boredom, taking aside the problem of separate and distinctive types of it, on the assumption that they are all only dimensions of the core experience. The paper is based on an analysis of literature on boredom from several fields, including psychology, philosophy, anthropology, educational and work studies, and sociology (n=572). The paper specifies non-essential (idleness, rest, laziness, apathy, monotony, lack of interest, and slow passage of time) and essential (being an emotion/feeling, perceived as aversive, combining listlessness and restlessness, disengagement, meaninglessness, and liminality) elements in defining boredom and construct the definition of situational boredom as ‘a transient, negatively perceived, transitional emotion or feeling of listless and restless inattention to and engagement withdrawal from interacting with one’s social and/or physical environment caused distinctively by an atrophy of personally-valued meaning, the frustrated need for meaning.’


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