Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Women's and gender studies, Family studies, Cultural and economic geography, Urban studies (Planning and development), Social sciences

Publication Details

Quinn, B. (2013) Lone parents, leisure mobilities and the everyday, in, Linehan, D. and Crowley, C. (Eds), Spacing Ireland: Space, Culture & Society in a Post-Boom Era. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 89-101. (ISBN: 978 07190 86733)


This chapter highlights the importance of the ordinary as a site for enquiring into how people make sense of their worlds. The primary intention is to highlight the spatiality of everyday leisure practices and to unravel some of the connections that link these to the occasional leisure practice of holidaying. Empirically, the study focuses on a group of female lone parents of dependent children living on low incomes in Dublin. In Ireland as elsewhere, lone parent families constitute a sizeable, growing but marginal societal group. For the women studied, leisure constituted informal, unstructured and modest activities that were stitched into daily routines and mobilities in a variety of unremarkable ways. Of note is the extent to which distinctions between work and leisure and between obligation and leisure were blurred. Overwhelmingly clear was the fact that even the most modest engagement in leisure activities facilitated social engagement and served as very important sustaining and coping mechanisms. Time and financial factors clearly constrained the women’s ability to practise leisure activities, however, so too did other factors including the quality of everyday spaces, a very prevalent ethic of care, social perceptions of lone parents, the social constructedness of public and certain private spaces, and the workings of the institutionalised tourism industry. There is much in the data to suggest that the myriad cultural practices, habits, mobilities and ways of being that make up our everyday existence are far more connected into, and mutually constitutive of, our extra-ordinary endeavours than might be popularly thought.