Technical University of Berlin, Faculty for Planning, Building, Environment
Department of Architecture, Habitat Unit
Straße des 17. Juni 152, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Received: 19 Jan 2015 – Revised: 11 Nov 2016 – Accepted: 24 Nov 2016 – Published: 27 Jan 2017
Abstract. The transformations of economic structures as well as of transportation and communication means have altered neighborhood-based interaction in the last decades. Therefore most urban studies argue that local neighborhoods have lost their function as places of sociability and solidarity. But if one looks at the more semipublic local contact sites and therein on a more
superficial and fluid interactional level, interactions and ties among local residents do not seem to decrease in the same way as close and intimate ties have exceeded the neighborhood boundaries. This article thus examines the neighborhood-based interactions in one example of an important neighborhood space – a café – that demands different kinds of commitments.
Practice theories thereby provide a particularly advantageous set of approaches to examine these rather spontaneous and loose micro-interactions. This is why this article ethnographically analyzes a café, as one of the important social neighborhood spaces. The article elaborates on Theodore Schatzki's (2010) and Elizabeth Shove's (2012) idea of practices as linked entities of material, competence, and meanings, coupled with Erving Goffman's conceptualization of public behavior (1959, 1963) regarding why local businesses represent locational material neighborhood settings for local micro-interactions (as social practices). Furthermore, the article addresses how these interactional practices lead to a sense of belonging and community for their carriers.
Steigemann, A. M.: Social practices in a café: community through consumption?, Geogr. Helv., 72, 45-54, doi:10.5194/gh-72-45-2017, 2017.