Group Pleasures: Collaborative Commitments, Shared Narrative, and the Sociology of Fun

Gary Alan Fine*, Ugo Corte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


As a consequence of their size and fragility, small groups depend on cohesion. Central to group continuation are occasions of collective hedonic satisfaction that encourage attachment. These times are popularly labeled fun. While groupness can be the cause of fun, we emphasize the effects of fun, as understood by participants. Shared enjoyment, located in temporal and spatial affordances, creates conditions for communal identification. Such moments serve as commitment devices, building affiliation, modeling positive relations, and moderating interpersonal tension. Further, they encourage retrospective narration, providing an appealing past, an assumed future, and a sense of groupness. The rhetoric of fun supports interactional smoothness in the face of potential ruptures. Building on the authors' field observations and other ethnographies, we argue that both the experience and recall of fun bolster group stability. We conclude by suggesting that additional research must address the role of power and boundary building in the fun moment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-86
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • commitment
  • fun
  • narration
  • pleasure
  • small groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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