Hagerstrand identifies three categories of constraints, limiting an individual to perform any actions they want, thus influencing actions of people.
- Capability: referring to the limitations on human movement due to natural causes. We are only capable to do what we can, managing space and time; thus those with cars and faster public services have a ‘spatial- temporal advantage’ over those who don’t. (Corbett, 2001).
- Coupling: refers to the need ‘to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people’ (Corbet, 2001). Our schedules and path must link and plan with another’s in order to participate in a task.
- Authority: referring to the laws and rules that are set in place; restricting one from their actions.
These limitations by Hagerstrand is a key importance in every-day life and can be related to my own recent cinema experience. A few weeks ago, I went to watch the very anticipated, ‘Suicide Squad’ with my boyfriend. Obviously, there is a lot of hype around the film with an amazing cast and unique storyline so expectations were high. I, probably like everyone else like visiting cinemas when they are empty, due to it feeling less crowded and more personal- like as if you’re watching the movie in a huge wide screen TV and sound system alone rather than a complete random sitting next to you; and of course due to the popularity of Suicide Squad, that was something I unfortunately expected. The storyline and hype of the movie was definitely the reason why we wanted to watch it, even though the reviews were quite negative. The capability constraints of transportation wasn’t an issue as we both have cars that enable us to both easily meet up however, due to the fact that I’m from Wollongong and my boyfriend is from Sydney, driving up to Liverpool to watch a movie even though there was a cinema 5 minutes away from home was a harder but not impossible constraint. This effected the cost of movie tickets as in Wollongong, tickets are much cheaper- generally $9- $14. But in Sydney it was around $20.00. Although this wasn’t restricting our experience, it definitely impacts my decision to choose to watch movies in Sydney cinemas rather than Wollongong, especially when the quality is almost the same.
A coupling constraint was encountered when planning to meet up. The distance between us impacts the time it takes to meet, thus when making plans we have to consider extra driving time. On top of that, juggling work, University and our social lives can be a struggle too- thus the coupling constraint in finding time for each other out of our busy schedules to hopefully finding a linking time that we are both free can be a limitation. Due to the movie being so fully booked, we had to pre-book our tickets online earlier that week to ensure a good seat and hopefully not have to sit around a bunch of strangers. The coupling constraint also rose when picking an appropriate time to watch the film; either 6.30- and have a late dinner or 9pm, and have an early dinner. Due to the fact that I have to drive an hour back home to Wollongong, we decided to choose the earlier option so I wouldn’t get home so late (a capability constraint).
Authority constraints associated with going to the movies includes informal rules such as keeping quiet throughout the film, turning off electronics and not disturbing others. I know I always try to be extra quiet when eating and opening a packet of chips to hopefully not impact on others movie experience. Other authority constraints may include movie ratings- Suicide Squad being rated ‘M’, I was surprised to see the amount of kids (8-10 years old) with and without parent supervision. I guess due to it being a popular, booked out film; our tickets were checked before entering.
I guess we can argue that Hagerstrand’s constraints are apparent for movie- goers and may impact the decline rate of cinema attendance. Although cinemas may have better screenings and give you a well- rounded, high quality, surround sound experience; being at home and avoiding all the extra cost, time and energy spent going to the movie isn’t much worse.
Corbett, J. 2001, Torsten Hagerstrand, Time Geography, CSISS Classics. pp. 1-4
Shaw, S.L, 2010, Hagerstrand & Time Geography, University of Tennessee Presentation, pp.10 http://web.utk.edu/~sshaw/Personal%20Homepage/AAG2010-Shaw-Time%20Geography%20Presentation.pdf
Warner Bros Pictures, 2016, SUICIDE SQUAD- OFFICIAL TRAILER 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmRih_VtVAs