When you retire, does everything become leisure? Information and communication technology use and the work/leisure boundary in retirement

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This article explores how computer technologies relate to experiences of work and leisure in retirement. It is argued that the literature on information and communication technology (ICT) use and leisure has neglected older age groups, while research on older adults and internet use fails to explore the subjective meanings of activities as work or leisure. This article examines these issues, drawing on qualitative data from interviews with eight retired couples in the UK. The findings show varied levels of engagement with computer and internet technologies as leisure and illustrate how the boundaries of work/leisure/retirement are challenged and reconstructed in relation to technology use. The use of computers and internet for leisure was not differentiated according to gender, although there were gender differences in negotiation of work/leisure/ retirement boundaries. The hesitance among many retirees to define computer technologies as leisure, and their restriction of other leisure technologies, suggests generational and possibly class issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1161
Number of pages19
JournalNew media & society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Computer use
  • Gender
  • Internet use
  • Older people
  • Retirement
  • Work/leisure

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