The Symbolic Violence of Leisure Lifestyle in the Production of Urban Space

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Troy GLOVER, University of Waterloo, Canada
This presentation focuses on the contemporary role(s) of leisure lifestyle in legitimizing and normalizing existing social orders in city life. In so doing, it draws on Bourdieu’s notion of symbolic violence, a form of violence “. . . exercised upon a social agent with his or her complicity” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 2002, p. 167), yet to his or her detriment. Though often perceived as trivial, leisure lifestyle functions effectively as an everyday instrument of social control and exercises symbolic violence on marginalized groups by imposing a subtle, yet powerful vision of social division among urban inhabitants, division based on leisure tastes and preferences. Specifically, the presentation will explore how leisure lifestyle and its associated amenities/practices are leveraged intentionally to attract affluent individuals (i.e., tourists, residents) to urban spaces, to facilitate the colonization of those spaces, and to displace those whose leisure tastes differ. By premising social division on leisure lifestyle rather than on social class, gender, ethnicity, or race, the covert process of producing “vibrant urban space” is deemed generally palatable so that its consequential displacement comes to be regarded as unfortunate collateral damage and nothing more. To contrast this scenario, the presentation will offer counter examples of transformative acts of resistance aimed at exposing symbolic violence through the production of “spaces of hope” in which urban inhabitants on the margins assert their “right to the city” and appropriate public space for alternative leisure use.