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Reading in community, reading for community: a survey of book clubs in regional Australia


Clarke, R and Hookway, N and Burgess, R, Reading in community, reading for community: a survey of book clubs in regional Australia, Journal of Australian Studies, 41, (2) pp. 171-183. ISSN 1444-3058 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 International Australian Studies Association

DOI: doi:10.1080/14443058.2017.1312484


Worries about weakening community are central to assessments of modern Australia, yet it is easy to overlook the everyday ways we "do" and participate in community life. Book clubs are one area of community participation largely ignored by researchers despite the local and national proliferation of such clubs. Surveying twenty-two book groups and ninety-seven book club members, this study investigates the roles that book clubs play in the cultural and community life of a regional area of Tasmania. The results show that book clubs promote regular intellectual engagement and provide for a distinct female sociality that consolidates and creates new social connections and function as everyday "escape attempts" from the obligations of work and family. We suggest that the support and development of local book club programs may have considerable potential as a strategy for Australian governments and communities to foster a sense of community.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Reading groups, community, regional Australia
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Clarke, R (Dr Robert Clarke)
UTAS Author:Hookway, N (Dr Nicholas Hookway)
ID Code:111190
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2016-09-02
Last Modified:2018-03-26

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