Lifestyle enclave

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Lifestyle enclave is a sociological term first used by Robert N. Bellah in his 1985 book, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. In the glossary of the book, he provides the following definition: "A lifestyle enclave is formed by people who share some feature of private life. Members of a lifestyle enclave express their identity through shared patterns of appearance, consumption, and leisure activities, which often serve to differentiate them sharply from those with other lifestyles" (p. 335). This term is contrasted with community, which Bellah et al. claim is characterized by social interdependence, shared history, and shared participation in politics.

The concept of lifestyle enclave has been used to analyze, for example, youth subcultures (Simpson 2000) and the relationship between leisure and democracy (Hemingway 1991).


  • Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W.M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1985). Habits of the heart. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Hemingway, J. L. (1991). Leisure and democracy: Incompatible ideals? In G. S. Fain (Ed.), Leisure and ethics: Reflections on the philosophy of leisure (pp. 59–81). Reston, VA: American Association for Leisure and Recreation. pdf[permanent dead link]
  • Simpson, Timothy A. (2000) Streets, Sidewalks, Stores, and Stories: Narrative and Uses of Urban Space. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 29, No. 6, 682-716. Link