The Space of Boredom: Homelessness in the Slowing Global Order
The Gray Years
This chapter brings the intersection of precarity, aging, and affect into view by examining the prevalence of pensioners using homeless services. The chapter shows how reforms designed to integrate Romania into the global economy negatively impacted the value of government pensions, which in turn affected the role of pensioners within familial networks. Under communism, dependable pensions positioned aging Romanians as valuable contributors of time and money to the family. Following economic reforms, the diminished value of government pensions recast retirees as economic burdens on their working-age children. Pensioners experienced further familial dislocation as their adult children moved abroad in search of greater opportunity. For homeless pensioners, boredom abounded as they experienced abandonment by the state but also by their families.