"Voting with their feet"
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Within leisure studies, the concept of community has often been treated as a context within which to study the delivery and/or benefits of recreation and leisure services. As opposed to merely serving as a context for leisure service delivery, the present study treats community as a social construct that affects and is affected by leisure activities. Using an ethnographic methodology, this study described and analyzed the intersection of the concept of community and leisure practices in the context of a communal farm in rural Georgia. Specifically, this study was guided by the following research questions: 1) what customs, rituals, language, values, artifacts, and leisure practices characterize the unique culture that exists at the Farm? and 2) how does the unique culture of the Farm allow its residents to resist and/or perpetuate dominant discourses regarding the organization of community, the design of communal space, and the experience of communal leisure ? Data were generated via participant observation, ethnographic, and semi-structured interviews during twenty months of interaction within participants and five months of residency at the study site. Thematic analysis of the data yielded three significant cultural practices that have been developed into three separate manuscripts. The first manuscript describes and analyzes the focal practice of Family Dinner. This weekly potluck meal serves a means for acculturating attendees to practices that are unique to the Farm. Family Dinner is also analyzed as a leisure education context in which social power is exercised to perpetuate group norms related local agriculture. The second manuscript examines the interrelated nature of work and leisure on the Farm. In contrast to the larger society, farm work often fulfills many of the characteristics attributed to leisure. The final manuscript explores competing conceptualizations of community as they manifest within the daily lives of participants at the Farm. Within the context of a dispute over the use of communal space, members of the Farm described their community using concepts analogous to Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Analysis and interpretation of the data support the contention that community is a fluid concept that is performed in various ways depending on the context.