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

Clarke, R ORCID: 0000-0003-0027-678X, Hookway, N ORCID: 0000-0002-0187-4741 and Burgess, R 2017 , 'Reading in community, reading for community: a survey of book clubs in regional Australia' , Journal of Australian Studies, vol. 41, no. 2 , pp. 171-183 , doi: 10.1080/14443058.2017.1312484.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Clarke, R and Hookway, N and Burgess, R
Keywords: Reading groups, community, regional Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Australian Studies
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1444-3058
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/14443058.2017.1312484
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 International Australian Studies Association

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