I mentioned in the previous blog post that I have been thinking about developing a research project about the café industry for sometime, and a spark for me in actually getting something more formal put together was reviewing a book , Café Society, for the Urban Geography Research Group.
Edited by the sociologists, Aksel Tjora and Graham Scambler, Café Society provides a fantastic introduction to different facets of research into the café as a living organic socio-cultural institution in modern society. The volume includes contributions from scholars across the social sciences including sociology, business studies, geography, and anthropology in order to increase understanding of the café in contemporary society (in a range of countries). From a cultural history of a café in Norway to a typology cafés and reasons for use, to reflections on café culture in Australia, this book provides a series of vignettes into the study of café cultures using a range of methods and approaches, showing how café spaces provide arenas for w whole host of social science research projects.
The book also highlights a series of empirical trends including the rise in commercially viable cafés in contemporary western societies; a growing potential for cafés to serve as ‘third places’; the ready accessibility of cafés; cafés as sites for sociability; spaces for networking and as an enabling sector of society. More importantly, it explicitly states that more research is needed into the concept of the café society (and of different café societies). This book was an inspiration to develop this research project into the development of the café industry, and no doubt will be an important text which I will continue to refer to.
You can read the full book review here.