Leisure and Consumption in Europe

  • Jukka Gronow
  • Dale Southerton


Household expenditure and time diary data are used to explore the changing socio-geographical patterns of leisure-related consumption in Europe. Robust comparative data restricted the analysis to change since the late 1970 s. The chapter begins with an outline of the key theoretical debates regarding changing European practices of leisure and consumption. This is followed by two sections detailing geographical patterns, differences and similarities between social groups and the extent to which such patterns can be described as indicative of homogenization or diversification. Each section takes expenditure and time data, respectively, to demonstrate that while patterns are complicated and nuanced, the evidence for homogenization is stronger that it is for diversification. Section 12.5 takes a detailed look at data on habitual practices, specifically at media, cultural activities and tourism. This allows for a more nuanced investigation of the general patterns revealed by household expenditure and time diary data. In conclusion it is argued that while cultural homogenization seems to be the slightly more prevalent trend, a more detailed examination of a range of data only serve to highlight the fundamental importance of national institutional arrangements, which serve to diversity leisure and consumption orientations across European countries. Despite, albeit modest, European Union’s attempts to create common European cultural institutions national differences matter. It seems unlikely that current trajectories of change will lead to common European cultural tastes beyond those measured using the very broadest parameters of cultural activity.


Free Time Household Expenditure Cultural Activity European Union Country European Union Member State 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.SociologyManchester UniversityManchesterUK

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