Community Social Involvement in Academic Retirement: Finding Sociological Meaning in Free Time

  • Robert A. StebbinsEmail author


Leaving an academic post by retiring (from teaching, research, academic administration) is to leave in later life a main, wider-community social involvement. Retirement from this occupational heaven can lead to an incongruous lifestyle, however, to a lonely, unsettling existence, even with compatible spouse, family, and close friends near at hand. For they cannot usually offer the values of academia. They fail to generate the feeling of being part of the larger community, of being somebody within it. There are three ways to recover this loss, each realized in leisure time, namely, serious leisure, casual leisure, and project-based leisure. Informal community social involvement refers to informal involvements of a fortnightly or monthly nature. Irregular community social involvement consists of local formal involvements that are pursued from time to time. Regular community social involvement refers to membership and steady member participation in local and extra-local formal organizations. For academic retirees in search of community involvement, becoming immersed in the social world of a serious leisure activity is possibly the most effective way to establish beyond the circle of one’s intimates just who one is.


Retirement Leisure Social world Community involvement College/university professors Identity 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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