Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 485–503 | Cite as

Producing Family Time: Practices of Leisure Activity Beyond the Home

  • Marjorie L. DeVault


Family life is conducted in public as well as at home, but the public aspect of family activity is seldom studied (a pattern that tends to reproduce “privatized” notions of family life). This observational study examines one site for public family activity, the community zoo. I show that visiting the zoo involves the group in a routinized activity that reinforces significant social boundaries, including those of family membership. Conceptually, the analysis identifies parental work practices—based on mostly implicit ideologies of family life—whose skills are treated at some moments as unremarkable and in other circumstances as key signifiers of “good parenting.” My aim is to bring into view the settings and circumstances within which parents pursue such activities with children, thereby illustrating an analytic approach that locates these practices within a broader social landscape.

family public space leisure 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie L. DeVault
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologySyracuse UniversitySyracuse

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