Leisure in public spaces: does it contribute to social cohesion in Dutch neighborhoods?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


2010S03191 Peters, Karin (Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 6700 AA [tel: +31 317 486025; fax: +31 317 419000; e-mail: karin.peters@wur.nl]), Leisure in Public Spaces: Does It Contribute to Social Cohesion in Dutch Neighborhoods?, International Sociological Association, Gothenburg, Sweden, ¶ This paper focuses on the role of leisure in urban public spaces for social cohesion. Since cities are becoming, more than ever before, multicultural and cosmopolitan melting pots, the presence of people with different ethnic background is the real life situation in urban public spaces. Although people tend to interact during leisure activities more with people they understand and who are just like them than with cultural others, public spaces offer more scope than private spaces for encounters that entail interactions between strangers. This is especially the case in urban public spaces where most people do not know each other. The meaning of everyday encounters in those places is examined because those encounters involve fleshy bodies constituting social life through relations loaded with sensation and emotion. Since urban parks are more inclusive green places than non-urban green areas, urban parks could potentially promote social cohesion. The objective of this study is to gain insight in the multiple relations between the use of urban public spaces for leisure and creating social cohesion. Results are based on qualitative research (observations and interviews) executed in two Dutch middle sized cities focusing on the use and meanings of urban public spaces. I will show that urban public spaces can serve as “constructions of interstices” where cultural identities are contested and negotiated. Results show that urban public spaces are of importance because in these spaces both native as well as migrants are negotiating their identities and the understandings of a changing world. Moreover, in urban public spaces people are trying to live their own lives. Not necessarily through interactions but by being informed about the cultural others that are co-present in urban public spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSupplement Conference Abstracts XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology "Sociology on the Move", Gothenburg, Sweden, 11-17 July 2010
EditorsL.P. Chall, T. Nagai, L. Conly, E. Fontanilla, D. Miller, M. Ruben, K. Stevens
PublisherInternational Sociological Association
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventXVII ISA Congress: Sociology on the Move, Gpthenburg, Sweden -
Duration: 11 Jul 201017 Jul 2010


ConferenceXVII ISA Congress: Sociology on the Move, Gpthenburg, Sweden


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