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Accepted Paper:

Daniel Miller (University College London (UCL))

Paper short abstract:

This paper suggests that the retired population within a small town in Ireland represent a form of unprecedented freedom, which may not be typical of retired people elsewhere. It contributes to the philosophy of freedom by showing how freedom can be realised socially rather than individually.

Paper long abstract:

This paper suggests that the retired people in a small town in Ireland represent a form of unprecedented and radical freedom. Unprecedented since it depends upon previously unavailable capacities, including the digital and the other accoutrements of contemporary middle-class life, such as the ability to travel almost anywhere. But it also depended upon the combination of several key elements. A relatively affluent society that repudiates its prior linkages to work, insists on a voluntarist relation to family obligations and is unusually free of political and other concerns. Of huge importance to this particular case is the way this population experienced a radical emancipation of its own generational history as most of these people were born into relative poverty and a highly controlling Catholic theocracy.

The specifics of the case are made clear by comparison with other ASSA projects which find very different configurations around retirement, such as in Brazil or Chile. Showing that this is by no means a necessary outcome of retirement. It also challenges much of the philosophical work on freedom e.g. from Sartre and Berlin because the freedom of the Irish is found to be essentially a social rather than an individual project, within which political freedom is a relatively minor component as compared to the freedoms being constructed from everyday life. This also allows us to consider questions of the meaning and purpose of life, unexplored by Monty Python.

Panel P107a
The Transformation of Hope in Retirement I
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -