An ethnography of a neighbourhood café: informality, table arrangements and background noise

Laurier, E., Whyte, A. and Buckner, K. (2001) An ethnography of a neighbourhood café: informality, table arrangements and background noise. Journal of Mundane Behaviour, 2(2), pp. 195-232.



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Café society is something that many of us as customers and/or social theorists take for granted. Cafés are places where we are not simply served hot beverages but are also in some way partaking of a specific form of public life. It is this latter aspect that has attracted the attention of social theorists, especially Jürgen Habermas, and leads them to locate the café as a key place in the development of modernity. Our approach to cafés is to ‘turn the tables’ on theories of the public sphere and return to just what the life of a particular café consists of, and in so doing re-specify a selection of topics related to public spaces. The particular topics we deal with in a ‘worldly manner’ are the socio-material organisation of space, informality and rule following. In as much as we are able we have drawn on an ethnomethodological way of doing and analysing our ethnographic studies.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Cafe society
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Buckner, Ms Kathleen
Authors: Laurier, E., Whyte, A., and Buckner, K.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Mundane Behaviour
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2001 Journal of Mundane Behavior and the authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Mundane Behaviour 2(2):195-232
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher

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