Feminist perspectives on third places

Simone Fullagar, Wendy O'Brien, Kathleen Lloyd

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


Many of the places Ray Oldenburg (1999) describes as examples of third place do not address how these spaces are deeply gendered in ways that work to exclude women in the contemporary context of patriarchal power relations. Drawing on a range of literature, from leisure, geography, urban planning and gender, this chapter examines the embodied spatial practices and everyday relations through which women experience (and also create) third places. When engaging with third places, women negotiate multiple material and discursive gender constraints in their lives that shape their identities and leisure opportunities. The gender dynamics of third places play out through public/ private distinctions, advanced liberal and capitalist logics, and virtual/physical spaces where gendered violence and sexual harassment occur. Despite these dynamics, women appropriate third spaces to perform different identities and find meaningful social interaction through informal processes and relationships. Through these interactions, with the visceral, affective and more than human aspects of third spaces women also transform and resist gender constraints and exclusion in varying ways. Yet for women to enjoy the same ‘right to the city’ as men, and the sociality of third spaces, policy makers, practitioners and researchers need to address the gendered power relations that continue to work in multiple ways to exclude.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking third places
Subtitle of host publicationInformal public spaces and community building
EditorsJoanne Dolley, Carole Bosnan
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd
ISBN (Print)9781786433909
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2 Sept 2018


  • Women
  • Feminism
  • urban space
  • gender
  • Leisure


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