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Khat-chewing in liminal leisure spaces:British-Somali youth on the margins

Author:
Swain, Spencer  Spracklen, Karl  Lashua, Brett D.  


Journal:
LEISURE STUDIES


Issue Date:
2018


Abstract(summary):

Khat-chewing, a controversial leisure activity within the Somali diaspora in Britain, has received little attention within the academic field of Leisure Studies. This paper reports on ethnographic research to provide insights into the unique locations where young British-Somali men chew khat, exposing the liminal qualities of such localities. The paper begins with an overview of the contentious position khat-chewing occupies within Somali communities in Britain, highlighting reasons why young British-Somali men hide their association with the leisure practice. The discussion that follows considers how young male khat users conceptualise spatial environments, exposing how these locations temporarily produce a dual sense of privacy and sociality. The ambiences of such temporary leisure spaces remain open to the prospect of discovery, resulting in the use of discretionary tactics to maintain a sense of secrecy. In this context, we discuss how khat-chewing offers a sense of cultural identity and belongingness while also marking young British-Somali men as outsiders - even within their own communities.


Page:
440---451


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