Recreation, informal social networks and social capital

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This paper examines the determinants of recreational practices amongst members of three diverse voluntary associations in the North West of England, focusing on being hosts and guests in private homes and eating and drinking outside the home. Using multi-level models analysing a rich data source on the social networks of members, we show how respondents' sociability is affected less by their socio-demographic characteristics than by the nature of their social networks. We show, against expectations, that there is little evidence of homophily in these recreational practices, which indicates that informal social contacts may be especially important in generating "bridging" and "boundary-spanning" types of social capital. We use the evidence to argue the need for a "sociology of companionship" which highlights routine sociability around rccreational practices. Copyright 2005 National Recreation and Park Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-425
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Companionship
  • Recreation
  • Social capital
  • Social networks


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