Lights, Camera, Action

Torsten Hägerstrand developed three constraints that can appear in our social domain. These constraints include; capability, coupling and authority. Hagerstrand explains that “human spatial activity is often governed by limitations” (Corbett, 2001).

  • Capability constraint– “refers to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors” (Corbett, 2001).


  • Coupling constraint– “refers to the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people” (Corbett, 2001).


  • Authority Constraint– “is an area (or “domain”) that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups” (Corbett, 2001).

I do enjoy the idea of going to the cinema, buying bulk ‘junk food’, seeing a movie I’ve been waiting ages to see and just hanging out in a space with a friend. This allows us to appreciate each other’s company and afterwards discuss our views of whether the movie was worth seeing or not.

Unfortunately I did have some issues with organising to see a movie this week as various constraints kept coming up. When organising a trip to the movies I only came across one of the three constraints. I originally organised to go to the movies with my sister, however, I already knew this would be difficult as she lives over an hour away so this limited when we could go. The coupling constraint is demonstrated by the fact my sister and I could only go to the movies on the weekend, as during the week there was not enough time for my sister to drive down from her job or for me to drive up from University and still be able to drive home at a reasonable hour. Capability and authority was not the limitation that prevented my sister and I going to the movies together as we are both able to drive, so transport was not an issue. The coupling constraint was our major problem as we could only go on the weekend and there were limited times for the movie we wanted to see.

Ironically both my sister and I ended up going to the movies Saturday night but with different people. I went with one of my friends as we both were free at 8.40pm and had both wanted to see ‘If I Stay’ (I recommend those who are thinking of seeing this movie, bring a box of tissues, you are going to need it).

With so many events happening in society now is cinema attendance still popular? “The Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009-2010 found the cinema had the highest attendance rate of all the venues and events surveyed, with an estimated 11.7 million people (or 67% of those aged 15 years and over) having been to a cinema in the 12 months before interview. Cinema attendance rates increased from 65% in 2005-06 to 67% in 2009-10” (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).



With downloading and streaming of movies making it easier for people to enjoy a movie from the comfort of their homes it is easy to wonder whether going to the movies is still a popular pastime today. However, viewing movies at home does not provide the same experience we receive when we go to the cinema. There is just something exciting about seeing a movie on the ‘big screen’.  When looking at the Bureau of Statistics I noticed that it was found in 2009-10, 67% of those who attended the cinema were aged around 15 years old. This encouraged me to reflect on my own cinema experiences and to begin thinking about how old was I when I visited the cinema the most. I would probably say 16, as I had just started working so I had money to spend and it was a fun activity for my friends and I to do after school or on the weekend. So is going to the movies just a social norm for kids to do with their friends?

How much is our cinema experience going to change? Is going to the cinema still going to be part of our pastime in the future? Or is it a social experience you grow out of?




Corbett, J. (2001) “Torsten Hägerstrand: Time Geography”  


Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2011) “Cinema Attendance”,


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