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Abstract

This research explores the complexities that underlie the formation of women’s social networks at traditional social student organisations in the Netherlands, advancing theory on the intersectionality of gender and class in leisure space. Building on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social capital it investigates if these social networks are segregated, and to what extent their divisions depend on previously acquired economic, cultural and symbolic capital. It analyses the hierarchical structures and ‘ranking’ of women’s year clubs within student organisations, and examines how the enactment and achievement of femininity determines women’s ability to move through social space. Finally, it investigates the use of social capital for women’s career progression. Semi-structured interviews were held with 20 women who were current or former members of one of the most traditional Dutch student organisations, the corps. Their accounts were used to gather information about the meaning women gave to their membership, and shed light on the role of previously acquired capital in the formation of clubs. Our findings show that women’s previously acquired social capital allowed them easier access to corps’ space and advanced their ability to navigate it. The establishment and ranking of year clubs and their members demonstrate the power dynamics that operate within the corps and the way class underlines network formation. Femininity was deemed one of the important markers of respectability and the enactment and achievement of ‘proper’ femininity determined women’s recognition and position in corps space. Despite the hierarchies of placement in the corps, most women profit from the social capital they acquired during membership, and can use it in selective ways for career progression and acquisitions.
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Leisure Studies
ISSN: 0261-4367 (Print) 1466-4496 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rlst20
Doing femininity and respectability: social
networks and social capital among female
members of Dutch student organisations
Maartje Roelofsen & Karin Peters
To cite this article: Maartje Roelofsen & Karin Peters (2017) Doing femininity and respectability:
social networks and social capital among female members of Dutch student organisations, Leisure
Studies, 36:3, 341-356, DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2015.1105860
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2015.1105860
Published online: 07 Nov 2015.
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LEISURE STUDIES, 2017
VOL. 36, NO. 3, 341–356
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2015.1105860
Doing femininity and respectability: social networks and social
capital among female members of Dutch student organisations
Maartje Roelofsen§ and Karin Peters
Cultural Geography Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Introduction
It is well known that many organised leisure activities produce informal sociability as a by-product
(Van Ingen & Van Eijck, 2009). Student organisations, however, are examples of leisure organisations
that explicitly promote social network formation through a plethora of leisure activities, such as
parties, balls, sports and dinner nights. ese activities can serve as sites for social interaction, and
concurrently as sites for building social ties and gaining social capital (Glover & Hemingway, 2005).
ABSTRACT
This research explores the complexities that underlie the formation of
women’s social networks at traditional social student organisations in the
Netherlands, advancing theory on the intersectionality of gender and class
in leisure space. Building on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social capital it
investigates if these social networks are segregated, and to what extent their
divisions depend on previously acquired economic, cultural and symbolic
capital. It analyses the hierarchical structures and ‘ranking’ of women’s year
clubs within student organisations, and examines how the enactment and
achievement of femininity determines women’s ability to move through
social space. Finally, it investigates the use of social capital for women’s career
progression. Semi-structured interviews were held with 20 women who were
current or former members of one of the most traditional Dutch student
organisations, the corps. Their accounts were used to gather information
about the meaning women gave to their membership, and shed light
on the role of previously acquired capital in the formation of clubs. Our
ndings show that women’s previously acquired social capital allowed them
easier access to corps’ space and advanced their ability to navigate it. The
establishment and ranking of year clubs and their members demonstrate the
power dynamics that operate within the corps and the way class underlines
network formation. Femininity was deemed one of the important markers
of respectability and the enactment and achievement of ‘proper ’ femininity
determined women’s recognition and position in corps space. Despite the
hierarchies of placement in the corps, most women prot from the social
capital they acquired during membership, and can use it in selective ways
for career progression and acquisitions.
© 2015 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
KEYWORDS
Femininity; social
club; social capital; social
class
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 28 June 2015
Accepted 23 August 2015
CONTACT Maar tje Roelofsen maartje.roelofsen@uni-graz.at
§Present address: Department of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz, Heinrichstraße 36, 8010, Graz, Austria
342 M. ROELOFSEN AND K. PETERS
In the Netherlands, the most traditional social student organisations are called the corps, a word
derived from the Latin word corpus or ‘body’ (plural: corpora). ere are nine1 corpora in the
Netherlands, which currently host around 11,000 members in total, and are each linked to a university
or college in the cities Amsterdam, Del, Groningen, Leiden, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Wageningen.
Corpora primarily have a social objective, and, according to their promotional material, membership
should appeal to those looking for new social ties, personal and intellectual development, physical
development at aliated sports clubs, societal involvement, positioning on the labour market, and
maintaining long-standing traditions. Aspiring members go through a period of initiation during
which an inauguration committee and senior members introduce them to all facets of corps life.
By means of subordination, aspirants undergo physical and psychological practices of humiliation
to prove their persistence and willingness to become a member, and at the same time show their
understanding of the prevailing norms and values of the corps, and how the organisation is governed.
Aer inauguration, novice members are required to regroup in year clubs, which are usually made
up of approximately 8 to 15 men or women who have enrolled in the same year.2 is particular way
of structuring networks was introduced as a way to deal with the exponential growth of members as
it became impossible for hundreds of members of each corps to get to know each other personally.
Exerting an image of exclusiveness has been a deliberate strategy of the corps, and can be traced back
to the mid-nineteenth century. Caljé (2008) illustrates how Vindicat (the corps in Groningen) started
to professionalise around 1850 as a way to rid itself from negative stereotypes that the bourgeoisie
held of students as alcohol drinking, hedonistic and sexually unrestrained citizens. Professionalising
was seen as a way to become acknowledged as a more formal group of students who were expected
to play an important role in the future of the Dutch society. However, towards the end of nineteenth
century, an increasing number of students from the traditionally non-academic bourgeoisie started
to join the university. is also resulted in a more democratising population of student members at
the corps, which eventually lead to a power struggle between the ‘aristocrat’ and ‘democrat’ members
of the corps. ‘Professionalisation’ was one of the topics of dispute, because becoming and being a
professional student community came with considerable nancial and social costs. To radiate a more
civilised’, professional, and exclusive image entailed the need for distinguished dress and decoration,
and a proper iconic sociëteit, a building that hosts the social activities of the corps. As a consequence
of these disputes, the democrat members eventually le the corps in Groningen in the nal years of
the nineteenth century. Arguably, professionalisation and the process of aristocratisation of the corps
have allowed the corps to claim an elite status in the past century (Caljé, 2008, pp. 15–18). Although
the corps can no longer be considered as merely a student organisation for the aristocracy today, it still
capitalises on its professional, traditional and exclusive image, and membership and corresponding
social activities still come with considerable nancial and social costs. roughout the past decades,
Dutch popular media have done much to portray the corps as an elitist organisation that maintains
conservative measures of inauguration. e drama series titled Feuten, which appeared on Dutch
television between 2010 and 2013, made an attempt to paint a (fragmented) picture of the social pro-
cesses that aspiring members have to go through during inauguration, in order to become a member
of the corps. Such stereotyping together with the lack of research on corpora fail to represent the
complexities that entail corps membership today.
Until the twentieth century all student applicants at the corps were white men from middle or
higher societal classes (Janssen, 1991). It was not until the late 1960s, at the outset of second wave
feminism in Europe, that most male corpora adopted a more emancipated attitude to the inclusion
of women in their social organisations, and mergers with female-only corpora started to occur. ese
mergers were also seen as possible solutions to nancial decits that prevailed at male corpora, which
had resulted from a decline of their popularity among students (Jongma, 1996). e change from sin-
gle-gender to mixed-gender organisations entailed that both men and women would share the same
physical space (the sociëteit) as well as their social space. Resulting social conventions – like certain
restrictions on verbal and physical contact between men and women – supposedly ensured that the
LEISURE STUDIES 343
corps’ activities continued to have a strictly social and intellectual character, and some, if not many,
of these conventions are still in place today (see, e.g. Kohnstam, 2002).
Corpora – as sites for socio-cultural inquiry – have received very little academic attention in general,
with the exception of the work of Dronkers and Hillege (1995, 1997, 1998) and Hillege and Fennema
(1992). eir studies show how men, who were once board members of the corps or other student
organisations in the Netherlands, increased their chances of gaining a top position in the government,
trade or industry. However, these studies fail to represent the complexities that underlie the formation
of social networks such as year clubs and chapters within the corps, and their gendered and classed
divisions. e purpose of this research is to contribute to the body of knowledge on class and gender
issues by providing a context-specic case. It studies the intersectionality of gender and class within a
leisure context in order to understand the complexities and pluralities that underline these concepts
and as social phenomena inuence everyday lives (Bradley, 2007). We explore what motivates women
to become members of the corps and shed light on how their year clubs were formed. Our aim is not
to make a comparative analysis of the formation of women’s and mens social networks, rather, we
examine how femininity as a form of capital is used and recognised and inuences network formation
in gendered leisure sites. Concurrently, we show how, in eect, this determines women’s access to
social capital and the exploitability of social capital. We do so by examining the use of social capital for
professional advantages and career progression, adding to the small strand of literature on (women’s)
leisure and social capital (see Connolly, 2002; Glover & Hemingway, 2005; Hemingway, 2006; Mulcahy,
Parry, & Glover, 2010; Son, Yarnal, & Kerstetter, 2010). We look in particular at who prots from its
returns and who does not, and by doing so, we aim to elicit the role of student organisations in con-
tributing to women’s social capital and the potential (re)production of social inequalities, providing
examples of the ‘dark side’ of social capital (Glover & Hemingway, 2005, p. 398).
In the next section, we discuss our theoretical perspective, connecting theories on social capital
and the social space within which it is produced, as well as issues of class that underlie it. Hereaer
we explain our methodology, discuss our ndings, and nally draw some conclusions.
Leisure and social capital
Bourdieu denes social capital as the value of one’s social network – ‘a durable network of more or
less institutionalised relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition’ – and the benets that
become available through this social network (Bourdieu, 1986, p. 174). Social capital is thus not an
individual possession but a collective one that comes available through relationships. Although social
capital has been dened and redened by other scholars, this research will mainly draw upon Pierre
Bourdieu’s denition, particularly because he has pointed out that leisure may also be viewed ‘as a
resource people may exploit for instrumental resources, as opposed to being an act of pure intrinsic
enjoyment (Glover & Hemingway, 2005, p. 390). Bourdieu addresses the ‘prots of membership’ of
social networks by discussing how prots become available to people, and how the particular exclu-
sivity of prots makes them distinct. For example, being a member of a social student organisation
vs. being a member a student sport club may produce dierent prots. In striving to be dierent,
it is the exclusivity of leisure organisations that give them their value (Blackshaw & Long, 2005,
p.251). Fundamental to the extent to which people have access to social capital, are the types, sizes,
and amount of networks people are involved in, as well as the position of people in the structure of
their social relations. Once people become part of a social network, they potentially have access to
other forms of esteemed capital that come available through the members in their networks such as
economic capital (e.g. money, access to loans), cultural capital (e.g. ties with esteemed organisations)
and symbolic capital (e.g. power, respectability, reputation) (Bourdieu, 1986). Access, of course, also
depends on availability and willingness of other people within the network to share these resources.
Hence, we must acknowledge the persistence of dierential access, reected by who is included in and
excluded from these networks, their hierarchical structures, and to what extent potential benets can
344 M. ROELOFSEN AND K. PETERS
be reaped by dierent members. We therefore analyse social capital here by critically exploring access
to and actual distribution of resources (Bourdieu, 1985).
Class, respectability and social space
One way of examining access to and exploitability of social capital is to analyse the social space in which
it is produced. Social space is a spatial metaphor within which dierent forms of capital that people
have accrued receive value and legitimacy. ese dierent capitals can come in an objectied form
(i.e. material properties), in an embodied state (i.e. through education) or in an institutionalised state
(e.g. academic qualications) (Bourdieu, 1986). e overall volume and composition of individuals’
capital determines their relative position in social space. Bourdieu notes that one can also describe
this space as a eld of forces, ‘as a set of objective power relations that impose themselves on all who
enter the eld and that are irreducible to the intentions of the individual agents or even to the direct
interactions among the agents’ (Bourdieu, 1985, p. 724). Social space thus is never static and depends
on the capitals and properties that are distributed within it, and the people who are involved:
[W]hen one enters a physical space such as a bar, school or home, one brings with one, embodied, certain quan-
tities of dierent capitals. It is the physical embodiment of the dierent positions that the body has previously
been able to inhabit. So one is always moving in and out of spaces carrying and sometimes increasing the value
of dierent capitals. (Skeggs, 1999, p. 214)
Social space has divided regions ‘constructed in such a way that the closer the agents, groups or
institutions which are situated within this space, the more common properties they have’ (Bourdieu,
1989, p. 16). ose that have access to social space can increase the value of their existing capital, but
access to social space is not always granted and presupposes constant power struggles. Social space
upholds physical and metaphorical conditions for certain people, through discourse and representa-
tions (Skeggs, 1999, p. 214). Skeggs, for example, shows that some women felt that their use of public
space is controlled by male violence (1999, pp. 227–229). In a similar vein, Taylor (2007) argues that
one’s appearance legitimises the entitlement to leisure space, and ‘classy’ rather than ‘working-class
presentations would determine whether one is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of place. As a result, people who are con-
strained in their access to social space will not reap the same benets as people who are not. erefore,
to understand social space means also to understand the restrictions on its accessibility, and the control
over it (Skeggs, 1999, p. 213).
One way through which we can understand the mechanisms of controlling social space, is by
employing respectability as a signier of class (Skeggs, 1997, 1999). Respectability is usually not of
concern to those who are ‘positioned with it, who are normalised by it, and who do not have to prove
it’, but it usually is an issue to those who are not positioned with it but who are positioned by it (Skeggs,
1997, p. 1). e division of social groups into categories of those who are respectable and those who
are not, is not only a signier of where one belongs, but also a standard to invest in and to achieve.
Respectability thus becomes a moral standard and is used to control those who do not have it (Skeggs,
1997, p. 3). Whether one is respectable or not, relies on the recognition and judgments of somebody’s
class, gender, race, age, sexuality and other markers of social positioning. Skeggs (2001, p. 296) explains
that ‘[to] make a recognition is to participate in a system of judgment and classication. She turns to
Bourdieu’s conceptualisation of the various capitals to explain how femininity – as a valued and nor-
malised form of cultural capital – determines one’s access to social space. Here, femininity is seen as
‘the process through which women are gendered and become specic sorts of women’ (2001, p. 297), a
process that makes us do and is a guideline for our social intercourse, in our daily lives. Femininity can
be done and performed through very corporeal acts or repeated stylisation of the body, i.e. the labour
of looking feminine (e.g. putting on make-up, wearing high heels, or wearing skirts). On the other hand,
femininity may also refer to the labour of feminine characteristics, such as caring, being thoughtful,
supporting and passivity (Butler, 2004; Skeggs, 2001, p. 297). e doing of femininity goes hand in
hand with recognising, judging, and the classifying of femininity and produces very realeects. e
classifying of femininity has a long history and was linked to categorisations of working-, middle- and
LEISURE STUDIES 345
upper-class women. At its emergence, femininity was associated with the habitus of the upper classes.
rough the concept of the ‘lady’, femininity was something to aspire and was produced through tex-
tuality (e.g. conduct books and magazines) in the eighteenth century (Poovey, 1984 in Skeggs, 1997,
p. 99). Femininity became an ideal for middle-class women and their respectability could be achieved
through their investment in appearance and conduct of femininity. On the other hand, working-class
women who were coded as ‘inherently healthy, hardy, and robust’ and were subject to forms of labour
which prevented them from appearing feminine, made femininity an impossibility for them (Skeggs,
1997). Femininity became a form of value and concurrently allowed those that were able to invest
in the ideal of femininity to value those who were lacking. Although history has modied class rela-
tionships over the years and the judgement of class is culturally informed, Skeggs (1997) shows that
femininity remains distinctly classed. Working-class women are still the subjects for those who sit in
judgement, and are represented as the other. Contemporary reality shows such as Geordie Shore (UK)
and the Dutch Dames in de dop, are examples of how popular media display working-class women
as ‘dramatising themselves, lacking and in the need for improvement, and through such media are
staged to be gazed upon by the middle-class viewer (Skeggs, 2009, p. 638).
e above theories and analyses of Bourdieu and Skeggs will be now used in this research to
examine the benets that come available through networks that women have formed in a particular
leisure space, the corps. We do so by studying the volume of capital these women have been provided
with throughout their lives, and examine which roles they play in their movements through social
space. Concurrently, we analyse how this determines their access to other capitals upon which they
can capitalise, and nally give insight into the power relations that present themselves in social space
(Bourdieu, 1985; Skeggs, 1997).
Methodology
is study utilises an interpretive approach that is characterised by the fact that researchers study
things in their natural settings, and interpret their ndings in terms of the meanings people bring to
them (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003). It is based on an constructionist ontology, meaning that the social
world and its categories are not external to us, but are constituted in and through interaction (Bryman,
2001). In this research, we conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 20 women who are
or were members of one of the Dutch corpora. Qualitative interviews, as a set of interpretative and
material practices, are particularly useful when seeking rst-hand information on social phenomena
and the meaning people attribute to them (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003, p. 5). Potential interviewees were
recruited through snowball sampling, which entailed that we contacted people in our own social
network who were members of the corps and introduced us to potential interviewees who in turn
introduced us to their contacts for subsequent interviews. Gaining access to the interviewees in our
research proved challenging because we were dealing with an ‘elite’ in a relational sense: our inter-
viewees were members of an exclusive network in which they held a certain amount of power, which
we, as researchers, were not part of. Although this dened to a certain extent our social positions as
researchers and interviewees, we never felt that our interviewees translated their power and authority
into the interview setting (Harvey, 2011, pp. 432–433). However, the whole process of gaining access
to our interviewees as well as a time constraint eventually determined a halt to our data collection. We
built up trust and rapport with our interviewees by being as transparent as possible about our research,
which entailed that we made explicit who we were, what our motives were in doing this research and
how we expected to disseminate the results. In order to avoid risk or harm to our interviewees, our
research followed several ethical principles, these being informed consent, ensuring our interviewee’s
privacy, condentiality and anonymity (Boeije, 2010, pp. 44–46).
Interviews were conducted either face-to-face, by phone, or through Skype (either with or without
video camera), and were held in an interview setting to the liking of our interviewees (for example, at
home or in public space). e interviews were organised around ordered but exible questions, and we
had acquainted ourselves with the jargon and slang of the corps, as well as the cultural context in order
346 M. ROELOFSEN AND K. PETERS
to create a productive and interpersonal climate for us and our interviewees (Dunn, 2000). Examples
of the questions asked were: ‘What motivated you to become a member of the corps?’, ‘Can you tell me
how your year club was formed?’, ‘Do you think your membership of the corps played a role in getting
access to jobs and assignments?’ e rst author conducted the interviews in Dutch in May and June
2012, and the length of the interviews ranged from 37 to 69min. All interviews were taped with the
women’s consent, later transcribed verbatim, and the transcriptions were analysed using the qualita-
tive data analysis programme Atlas.ti. Textual accounts of the interviews were searched for common
themes and regularities focusing on social network formation, and the use of social capital, making
an attempt to interpret the interviewees’ view of their social world and their behaviour (Kitzinger,
1995, p. 105; Middleton & Edwards, 1990). Initially we employed open coding to the generated data
followed by axial coding, to determine the most dominant codes and to nd connections between
them (Saldaña, 2009, p. 218). Quotes used in the text were translated into English. We acknowledge the
epistemological, ethical and practical issues that come with translation of our participants’ messages,
and acknowledge our positions in this as translators (Temple & Young, 2004). When translating the
quotes we were careful to remain loyal to the original messages our participants were conveying, and
at the same time made sure the text remained clear to our readers. In order to protect participants
privacy, pseudonyms are used in this study.
Participants
ree of the interviewees were active members of the corps, and were 19, 20 and 22years of age at the
time of the interview. Seven of the interviewees were aged between 26 and 32years and had all been
active members of the corps for ve years. ey became members between 1998 and 2005. Seven of
the interviewees were aged between 33 and 41years at the time of the interview and became a member
of the corps between 1992 and 1997. ree of them remained as members for ve years, three of them
for six years and one of them for seven years. Finally, three of the interviewees were aged 54, 61 and
62years at the time of the interview and had been members in 1982, 1974 and 1973. Two of them
had remained members for veyears; one of them had remained for three years. Taking into account
that 17 out of 20 interviewees had been members in the (distant) past, meant that we relied on their
memory processes to recall their past experiences, some of which took place as much as 39years ago.
We acknowledge that the recollections of our interviewees are reconstructed with the determinative
circumstances of the present, and we should be cautious not to claim these reconstructed experiences
are accurate representations of reality. One interviewee was member of the AVSV, four were members
of CERES, six were members of Minerva, two were members of RVSV, two were members of UVSV, ve
were members of Vindicat. Out of the 17 former members, 16 currently have a job and 1 interviewee
is in the process of getting back to work aer maternity leave.
Findings
Joining the corps
Enrolment at university means for most prospective (Dutch) students that they leave their parental
house and move to live in close vicinity of the university, also leaving behind an environment with
established social ties. Consequently, to some interviewees the absence of social ties in this new envi-
ronment seemed to be the most important motivation to become a member of the corps, being aware
of the solidary rewards that come with it. Accounts of other interviewees showed that pre-existing
social ties with people at the corps, be it with siblings or friends, were the main motivation to join
and their interest was to expand upon those existing social relations within a new and broader social
network. As Josie (41 years old) notes: ‘I knew people there. It was a kind of natural thing to do’. e
‘naturalness’ of the thing to do, or in other accounts ‘the automatic thing to do’, hints at the perception
aspiring members had of their unhindered chance to gain access to this social network and to which
LEISURE STUDIES 347
extent they thought the prots would became available through membership. It speaks to an under-
standing of a particular social structure as a whole, and ones position within that structure, taking it
for granted and contributing to the stability of the relations that are produced through it (Bourdieu,
1985, pp. 728–729). is prior understanding of the logic, structure and hierarchy of the social space
that aspiring members were about to enter, became available through the knowledge of established
members, and enabled them to anticipate the objective power relations within. However, knowing
how to move through social space did not merely depend on relations with active members at the
corps. Interviewees whose parents were former members of the corps said they were socialised into
the culture and traditions of the corps, and were termed by other members as prefabs (as to allegedly
be ‘prefabricated’ into corps members by one’s parents). Membership for them was seen as a recog-
nised and guaranteed form of symbolic capital within the family, as explained by Nina (34 years old):
Actually it was something automatic [to become a member] because both my parents were members.
I never really thought about it[.]’
us, motivations to apply for membership at the corps relate to the volumes of various capitals
that aspiring members carry, and at the same time determine their access to social space and their
relative position within it. Being able to build upon existing social ties with members at the corps
(as an embodied form of social capital) facilitates aspiring members for the interactions within this
new space of relationships (Bourdieu, 1985, pp. 724–725, italics in the original). is suggests that,
although the corps – as a social space – promotes itself to be open to any aspiring member, its divided
regions are a priori marked by mutual recognition and the reproduction of existing social relations
that were formed outside the corps. Aspiring members who did not embody such volumes of social
capital prior to their membership, were conscious of the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion that
this set for them and had to rely on other forms of capital to acquire their position within corps space.
Horizontal and vertical structures: seniority, and year club formation
Social networks at the corps are structured in various ways, which we outline in this paragraph.
Firstly, the corps promotes vertical structures in its network, which holds that seniority (anciënniteit)
determines ones position, one’s rights and one’s duties relative to the other. e year of admittance to
the corps, and consequently one’s age, are maintained as a symbolic hierarchy and aims to cultivate
respect among junior members towards their seniors. Members recognise this marker of distinction
not in the least because those who are able and inclined to make that distinction are recognised and
deemed signicant in the social space of the corps (Bourdieu, 1985, p. 730). Senior members are sup-
posedly more knowledgeable and educated on the corps culture, and therefore embody higher levels
of cultural capital, which, in its recognised form, converts into respectability. It serves as a symbolic
system, operating on the logic of dierence and, when recognised, produces signs of distinction (or,
symbolic capital). ese dierences, inscribed in the structure of the social space, have been quite
literally translated into a mapping and instruction for the use of, and entitlement to, the physical spaces
of corpora by its members. For example, at most corpora rst-year members are obliged to use only
specic spaces of the sociëteit for their social engagement so as to separate them from more senior
members, and are not allowed to sit down but must stand up. Other accounts express that rst-year
members use ‘rst-year-toilets’, enter the sociëteit through certain doors only, and follow several other
rules of bodily engagement. For example, at most corpora novice female members are expected to
dress ‘appropriately’, soberly or in particular uniform at the sociëteit. On the one hand, to show their
subordination to more senior female members by masking their ‘younger’ bodies juxtaposed to those of
older ones. On the other hand, such dress disputably obscures their bodies as objects of lust, protecting
them from the male gaze, and positions aspiring female members as sexual subjects rather than objects.
By imposing these dress norms, expectations of femininity then no longer become individual acts of
agency, but, as Berbary and Johnson (2012, p. 244) suggest, are ‘performative subjectivities demanded
by larger discourses of power’ in order to obtain and maintain membership of the corps. Younger
aspirant members are considered inherently ‘sexual’ and need to be constrained and ‘protected’ from
348 M. ROELOFSEN AND K. PETERS
being perceived as such. ese practices hint at a preservation of a sexual double standard (Bradley,
2007), which implies that men are (in a historical perspective) naturally sexually rampant, and their
pursuit of women is normalised. On the other hand, women’s pursuit of men is condemned as being
promiscuous and their bodies should be held under surveillance in order for the men to be secure
the ospring being theirs (Bradley, 2007, pp. 121–122). Catherine (33 years old) mentions ‘e girls
had to wear overalls in their rst year and the men didn’t. at was to look as unattractive as possible
compared to the rest of the women, which makes sense. Seemingly, junior members adhere to the
logic and workings of seniority and gendered norms and accept the (physical) boundaries of inclusion
and exclusion of corps space, as well as the bodily restrictions that come along with it. Rather than
subverting these norms, to incorporate the rules of entitlement to space and understand the divisions
of social space, is understood as embodied cultural capital, built up through acquired knowledge on
corps culture. Following, the corps, as a social space, then provides the ‘blueprint’ for other divided
social spaces that women (seek to) enter at later stages in their lives, as Caroline (33 years old) explains
‘[H]andling structure, vertical thinking. When you have just become member you have to lay low, as
a rst year [member] it’s like ‘this is how it works around here, these are the rules.’ In real life it’s like
that too in many cases. e prots that come available through this embodied state of cultural capital
(i.e. knowledge on the workings of seniority) are later appropriated in ‘real life’, i.e. in professional
networks and at certain companies, where former members see professional titles and other forms
of professional hierarchies as similar institutionalised and legal forms of symbolic capital (Bourdieu,
1985, p. 733).
e second prevailing characteristic of social networks at the corps is its horizontal structure. A
horizontal structure is achieved through the formation of sub-groups called year clubs (jaarclub),
which are made up of approximately8 to 15 members of the same sex. is measure was initially taken
in the rst decade of the twentieth century when the corps saw its number of members growing. By
encouraging members to form smaller subgroups, the idea was to yield solidarity among members
not only on a macro level, but also on a micro level within the corps. Once formed, members are
expected to commit themselves to the same year club throughout their membership of the corps and
oentimes continue to do so throughout their lives. Year clubs are formed during or straight aer
inauguration, a process that is sped up by a time limit, which is imposed by the board of the corps
and ranges from a few weeks to a few months. is time limit is a distinctive feature of the labour
of institution of year clubs because it makes establishing social relationships a very deliberate and
conscious process, requiring prospective members to recognise certain traits, morals and manners in
the other in a calculated manner. Some interviewees indicate this process is an intuitive organisation
and structuring of social relations, a perceived ‘natural’ process: ‘Yes, one way or the other we had a
connection between us and during the inauguration period we met up. And then we composed lists
of ‘who do we think are nice people,’ and we organised a dinner […] and that’s more or less how we
formed my club’ (Nina, 34 years old). Other interviewees see the formation of year clubs as a forced
and ‘unnatural’ process in which the levied time limit is a hampering element in the recognition of
the other (or being recognised by the other) as a valid candidate to be admitted to the year club. In
some cases, recognition or rejection of an aspiring member – and as a result the right to access social
space – is le to a single member or a smaller group of members within the forming year club, the
‘plenipotentiary’ (Bourdieu, 1986, pp. 175–176), as explained by 28-year-old Kelly: ‘It’s a very tiring
period. And girls are pretty hard in that sense. Look, if one says ‘[I] don’t like you,’ then nobody likes
you, and it was not the case for me, but it was the case for girls that you banish from your year club,
you name it. It’s not a very nice game’. Women who nd themselves at the ‘bottom’ of these social
hierarchies are oen excluded entirely and are consequently forced into a year club by the managing
board of the corps, as 19-year-old Peggy notes:
To put it bluntly, there were a few girls that nobody wanted in their year club. ey simply just put them in
there. One year club got very angry about this [decision forced upon them,] so [the managing board] allowed
the [excluded] girls to choose the club they wanted to join. en they chose us, so now we have a year club of
16 girls, and they have 12.
LEISURE STUDIES 349
Such exclusion, as marker of class, delegitimises a member access to social space entirely through asso-
ciations of non-respectability (Skeggs, 1997, p. 162). Being forcefully admitted to a year club because
of non-recognition, marginalises and marks these members as ‘the unwanted’, and are le occupying
a position on the margins of a social space that they were initially excluded from.
Women remain members of their year club throughout their membership of the corps, which
implies long-term obligations in the form of friendship that are subjectively felt by each individual
year club member. Year clubs are symbolically constituted from the moment they are conceived, and
ceaselessly reproduced in and through the exchange of talk and other forms of social engagements
during dinners, balls, common drinking nights at the sociëteit, and holidays, among others. e col-
lectively owned capitals of the members of the year club are valued within a broader network of the
corps, a valuation that concurrently determines its position in ‘broader’ social space, as we will see
in the following paragraph.
Ranking of year clubs and accessibility to resources
It is common practice that year clubs are (unocially) ranked by popularity or superiority aer or
during the formation process, ‘club 1’ being the most prominent club, as Hannah (42 years old) explains:
‘You have 15 or 20 female year clubs and also 15 or 20 male [year clubs]. ere’s a kind of ranking,
or ranking is maybe not the right word, but the clubs that are considered the coolest […]’. How one
becomes the most prominent year club – in other words, how superiority is determined – depends on
the value and valuation of the combined sum of dierent forms of capitals that members of a certain
year club carry with them. e valuation and ranking is a common eort by all members, but the more
senior members who have already been endowed with a privileged position and power in the corps,
are those who (unocially) determine ranks. Year clubs and their members concurrently articulate
their superiority by investing time in social activities at the sociëteit enlarging their visibility as they
strive for acknowledgement. Visibility, Skeggs (1999, p. 220) notes, ‘is about an empirical recognition
of being in or out of place that invariably invokes regimes of placement.
Already established social ties, social background and personality are deemed important factors for
members to join prominent year clubs. In some accounts material wealth (economic capital) is mentioned
as a relevant condition for an aspiring member to join a prominent year club, although other interview-
ees argue that it is possible for any aspiring member to join such ayear club regardless of the economic
capital they embody. However, keeping up with the proliferation of a prominent year club within the
corps does require signicant amounts of monetary contribution, as 40-year-old Yvi notes: ‘[Y]ou can
get into club 1 or 2 even if you don’t have money … [but] if you can eventually pay [their social activ-
ities] is another question. Because they actually do undertake many activities that cost a lot of money’.
Corps houses provide lodging for aspiring members during the inauguration period and claim
responsibility in stirring future housemates into a prominent year club to sustain or enhance their
symbolic statuses. Cleo (32 years old) notes that the ordering and maintenance of social hierarchies
also transpires through the appropriation of living space to aspiring members: ‘ere is a very big group
of nice houses that all nd it important to have nice people. […] But you also have a couple of not
really nice [houses], yes that is sort of a ‘human trash’’. e politics of recognition and misrecognition
thus emerge through perceived social and spatial categories and give way to the institutionalisation
of relations, revealing the symbolic dimension and mechanism of the corps’ group formation and the
classes that arise through them (Wacquant, 2013, p. 3).
Being a member of a highly ranked year club, or living in a prominent corps’ house, in turn yields
higher visibility, which constitutes the ‘essential part’ of power. Being recognised as a member of one
of these higher ranked ‘classes’ in this ‘space of relationships’ fundamentally generates symbolic power,
as opposed to being a member of lower ranking‘classes’ (Bourdieu, 1984, p. 176; Bourdieu, 1985, pp.
725–726), and subsequently results in the access to resources such as valued commission work, as
Hannah (42 years old) summarises: ‘[T]he year clubs that are considered ‘cool’ consist of people that
live in the nice houses. ose members get asked to do the nicest commission jobs. ose are oen
350 M. ROELOFSEN AND K. PETERS
also the year clubs that are very active. As a result, when you are active then you’re also more visible
and you will be asked for more things. Being asked for valued commission work reinforces one’s
respectability, as 41-year-old Josie notes: ‘Eventually I saw [not being a member of a higher-ranked
year club] as an impediment. I did have jobs [at the corps] but not, let’s say, the ‘cool’ jobs’. As such,
being member of a highly ranked year club at the corps is not only a standard which to aspire, it also
allows its members to gain easier access to those forms of capital (e.g. esteemed jobs) that they can
capitalise upon. is in turn generates symbolic capital, which positions members with respectabil-
ity, is acknowledged both by members who are positioned in contrast to it, as well as those who are
positioned with it (Skeggs, 1997).
Femininity and respectability
Gender as a norm, Judith Butler argues, could be considered as the apparatus that produces and
normalises femininity or masculinity and ‘take[s] place along with the interstitial forms of hormonal,
chromosomal, psychic, and performative that gender assumes’ (Butler, 2004, p. 42). When looking
at gender as a performance, e.g. through daily acts, and ‘repeated stylisation of the body’, gendered
identities are created and recreated and provide the illusion of stability in acting out of being man or
woman (Butler, 1990, p. 33). Our ndings show that the enactment and achievement of femininity,
as of form of cultural capital (Skeggs, 2001, p. 298), generates respectability (symbolic capital) in the
social space of the corps. It is important to note here that only certain performances were legitimated
while others were not. Overinvestment in appearing feminine is linked to publicly attracting sexual
attention, which in return is something a ‘respectable’ woman would not do. Women who altered
their appearance in excess, e.g. by wearing a lot of makeup, or wearing skin- or gure-bearing outts
(e.g. short skirts or tight jeans) were subject to moral evaluation, as Jessica (40 years old) explains:
You were not supposed to wear makeup. I never understood that actually, they were very much against the display
of femininity. [E]verything that was tighter [than wide jeans] was whorish. So I stood there once with Levi’s
[jeans] and a lamb wool V-neck sweater from my dad and they thought my décolleté was too deep.
e expectations ‘they’ have of Jessica’s display or accentuation of the ‘feminine’ corporeal, illustrates
the socialisation into the discourse of femininity at the corps (see Berbary & Johnson, 2012; for a
broader discussion on this topic). In the cultural context of the corps, women who are too concerned
with their appearance are positioned as immoral and tasteless. One who needs to alter ones appearance
does not possess the ‘right’ femininity – and cultural capital – that is recognised at the corps. is,
in turn, inuences one’s access to and movements through social space (Skeggs, 1997, p. 161). In a
similar way, promiscuity is a practice considered to endanger one’s respectability. At the sociëteit men
and women are allowed to talk to each other at specic hours of the evening only and bodily acts of
aection between men and women (e.g. touching, kissing) should be repressed and conned to the
private sphere. Although these heteronormative arrangements were installed at a time in which norms
of chastity and virginity, and the availability of birth control, were dierent from today’s, they are still
very much in place at most corpora (see also Kohnstam, 2002). ese safeguards of modern puritan-
ism are ensured by mores, the (unwritten) rules by which members of the corps are disciplined. e
mores are secured by social control and peer pressure coming from the year club or other members
of the corps. Nicky (20 years old) states:
In my year club they would say ‘hey, if you carry on like this, the whole sociëteit will say you’re a slut’, and so
on. And at a certain point, if you do continue, the whole sociëteit indeed says you’re a slut. Sometimes behind
your back and sometimes they will let you sing things. […] And they will let you know, like ‘we really think
you are a slut.
Controlling one’s sexual display thus represents moral and cultural regulations that members need
to uphold in order to be accepted and remain part of the group. Sexual display is internally regulated
through self-monitoring (Skeggs, 1997, p. 130) but also externally through the mores, which provide
rules for moral sexual conduct, and police women at the corps so as to discipline them into bodies of
appropriate feminine performance. Women, who conduct immoral sexual display, are categorised as
LEISURE STUDIES 351
non-respectable and unfeminine. Although the women we interviewed to a great extent took up the
norms of femininity that were upheld within corps space, and assessed their enactments of femininity
as ways to ensure their respectability, others arguably resisted and renewed these norms, as Jessica
(40 years old) illustrates:
[A] girl refused to conform to the dress norm and wore what we would now consider normal clothes. ey called
her Catwalk because [her clothes] were so tight, and she received a lot of criticism. [But] she was persistent during
a period in which you were supposed to wear worn out clothes. And the funny thing is that from that moment
on, other people also dared to do it. So she brought forth a cultural change.
is example illustrates that women who enter the social space of the corps, were expected to enact
‘archaic’ and dominant discourses of femininity, but challenged them by counter-performing more
contemporary acts of femininity that they picked up from their social world outside the corps in order
to resist such dominations. is suggests that gendered identities were not simply imposed, but can be
challenged through performance, which is important in altering binary thinking on gender (Bradley,
2007, pp. 19–21; Butler, 1990). While these particular acts of resistance were meant to challenge the
socially, historically and culturally constructed ‘rules’ of femininity specic to corps space, it also
elicits that women at the corps were aware of other existing discourses of femininity outside the corps
through which they ‘liberated’ themselves, at least temporarily, in corps space.
Putting social capital to work
rough our interviewees’ accounts it becomes clear that the social capital they have accumulated
throughout their membership gains or loses value depending on the social spaces they enter in their
pursuit of a career. is holds in particular for the conversion of ‘membership’ – as a form of insti-
tutionalised social capital – into economic capital, i.e. the access to jobs. How corps membership
is understood and valued is employer dependent and, according to some interviewees, even sector
dependent. Although the corps, as a select group, is organised intentionally to concentrate social capital
(Bourdieu, 1986, p. 174), being associated with the corps is not always valued positively or recognised
as a symbolic prot. On the contrary, our interviewees were aware of the fact that their future employers
might base their image of the corps on trivial and fragmented representations in popular media, and
consequently could be categorised as elitist, conservative or party-minded women. is illustrates that
they feared being positioned through representations of the elitist woman, suggesting the power others
(with dierent social and representational positions) have over their access to other forms of capital,
like job opportunities (Skeggs, 1999). As a result, some of our interviewees strategically concealed
their membership with the corps, as 41-year-old Josie notes:
I think it can be a disadvantage in some industries, because there are so many managing directors at top level
that don’t have this background. And corpora do have a negative connotation in some way. I would not put it on
[my CV] anymore. […] I am not ashamed of it but I deliberately mostly do not bring it up anymore.
However, membership was particularly highly valued in certain job sectors and rms who strategi-
cally employed former members. Certain law rms (e.g. De Jonge Balie) and multinationals such as
Heineken (at some corpora the ‘house-supplier’ of beer), Unilever, and Proctor & Gamble are men-
tioned as prominent employers of former corps members, and in some cases are managed by former
corps members. is suggests that membership is recognised as a high value in certain markets, but
may receive negative value in others and determines (dierential) access to social space. It shows how
the corps maintains and reproduces itself as a group securing positions of its members in professional
groups, and illustrates how social capital accumulated during membership is convertible into economic
capital and may be institutionalised in the form of a job title.
Bourdieu (1986) mentions several factors that determine one’s volume of social capital, being the
size of their network (how many people one is connected to), the strength of the established ties, as
well as the volumes of economic, cultural and symbolic capital that one’s connections carried. While
our interviewees conrmed that the size of their network was important, the strength of their ties
was less so. Our interviewees oen used the term ‘via-via’ to refer to jobs, acquisitions, and other
352 M. ROELOFSEN AND K. PETERS
forms of economic capital, that they had accrued through a relatively weak or non-existent tie with
(former) members of the corps. Kelly (28 years old) explained the workings of via-via in her network
of former corps members:
[Y]ou just know a lot of people. Or you don’t know them well, but they know you via-via, or through an almanac
or through a fellow year club member, or a housemate […] You always have contacts and if you were a nice type of
person during that time then reap the benet, I’m convinced of that. And I notice it now when doing acquisition
for parties and weddings, […], yes we really get a lot of clients from those circles.
Although our interviewees were aware of the benets that became available through their networks,
they perceived that egalitarian sentiments in Dutch society were prevailing and the ‘exclusiveness’ of
corps membership no longer retained its symbolic value as it used to decades ago. To the women in
this study, cultural capital, in the embodied state of education, and in its institutionalised legal form
(i.e. educational qualications such as an MSc or MBA), were socially and legally deemed to hold
much more currency in the contemporary job market (Bourdieu, 1989, p. 733). However, even though
perceptions of and attitudes towards social dierences might have changed in Dutch society, this does
not necessarily indicate that hierarchical structures no longer exist and aect the distribution of power
and resources within society (Hjellbrekke, Jarness, & Korsnes, 2014).
Conclusion
In this study, we have made an attempt to provide insight into the formation of womens social net-
works and their classed structures, using the example of Dutch social student organisations. Like
Berbary and Johnson (2012), our context-specic study demonstrates the highly prescribed expec-
tations for ‘appropriate’ femininity as a requirement for membership. However, we have extended
this view by providing an analysis of how these expectations (re-)congure relationships between
women into groups that are vastly segregated in horizontal and vertical structures. While another
strand of studies has evidenced that membership of leisure organisations facilitate social capital
and in turn contribute to other forms of capital e.g. jobs (Dronkers & Hillege, 1995, 1997, 1998;
Hillege & Fennema, 1992) or health and well-being (Son et al., 2010), this study has added to the
understanding of the dierential access women have to such organisations, the existing structures
of inequality that organise social spaces and the aect this has on the possibility to increase the
value of existing capital.
We have identied that previously acquired social capital makes social capital. Women who were
able to draw on their relations with established members at the corps, e.g. siblings, friends or par-
ents, were already acquainted with some of the principles of dierentiation that construct the corps
space. Consequently, it provided them easier access and aided them in navigating their new social
topology more easily, as opposed to those members who were not previously connected to members
of the corps. e production of patterns of power and (in)equality thus manifests itself at the outset
of network formation. e sociëteit, as a physical and metaphorical manifestation of corps’ space,
emerges from representations and discourses of ‘seniority’ and ‘respectability’, which are essential
for novice members to learn which spaces are accessible to them and which are not (Skeggs, 1999, p.
214). In the case of the corps, ‘seniority’ and year clubs (and their ranks) operate as symbolic markers
and hierarchically structure social space, consequently determining the position of women in social
space and their movement through it (Bourdieu, 1986, 1989). Being more senior or being a member
of a respectable year club enlarges their visibility and entitles women with a claim to respectability,
which in turn denes their privileged use of the physical space of the corps, and gives access to other
forms of capital (e.g. commission work). While the purpose of forming year clubs in the corps is to
generate solidarity among subgroups of members, paradoxically, the forced nature of the labour of
institutionalisation of these networks, compels novice members to resort to practices of (de)valuation
and exclusion of other members. is emphasises the power dynamics within social networks as it
presupposes that some members are ascribed with the power to judge as a natural given. ey do
not have to achieve or prove their ‘respectability’, they have been positioned and xed by this value,
LEISURE STUDIES 353
while ‘those at the opposite of the social scale’ are xed by other values (Skeggs, 2004b, p. 4). ese
judgements over being in or out of place lead to unpleasant tensions among women, and deny some
women (who are given no (social) value) entire access to social space.
Femininity, as a form of cultural capital, is highly valued among members, and the labour and
appearance of ‘the right’ femininity is a way of safeguarding one’s respectability and position in corps’
space. e others that are not feminine and sit in judgement are female members who overinvest in
their appearance, and resort to overt sexual display. However, some women have challenged and
resisted existing discourses of femininity and claimed their ‘own’ femininity by doing femininity in
their way, which allowed them to ascribe agency and be an example to other women at the corps
(for an exploration on the dissemination and discipline of femininity, see, e.g. Berbary, 2012). us,
women in these highly gendered organisations should not simply be understood as rational actors who
comply’ with gendered norms (Berbary & Johnson, 2012), perform their femininity, and capitalise
on their femininity in their movement through social space to deploy in formation of their relations,
friendships and groups. Rather, we should consider how the women in this research are just as much
‘‘eects’ of discourse’ (Berbary & Johnson, 2012, p. 264) and reect on the dierent (corps) cultures
that enable and promote such performances of femininity.
Most participants in this research consider their acquired network at the corps valuable, regardless
of the size of their networks, their location in the structure of their social relations at the corps, nor the
rank of their year club. e ordering of social relations based on their acquired capital is not perceived
as a true impediment to reap the benets of social capital. Rather, there seems to be a consensus that
there is a high willingness to share information on job opportunities and acquisitions among former
members, regardless of one’s former position in the social order of corps membership and irrespective
of the strength of their ties. In the end, all women, to some extent, see their established networks as
a-thing-in-itself, as a good to capitalise upon in other elds, and there was little criticism on the social
segregation that underlies it.
is study has shown that certain members have more authority over the valuation of capitals
of others, than other members do, and simultaneously hold more power over their entitlement to
the metaphorical and physical social space of the corps (Skeggs, 2001). is shows the inequalities
that operate within the social space of the corps and exemplies how symbolic spaces, such as year
clubs and higher ranked houses, become spaces of entitlement, and reinforce class distinctions
(Bourdieu, 1984; Glover & Hemingway, 2005, p. 389). e corps as such can be seen as a eld
of power where those who have access to social space, can increase the value of their dierent
forms of capital, also in the professional eld (Bourdieu, 1989; Skeggs, 1997). ose who do not
have access to this social space are less likely to increase the value of their capital, reinforcing
unequal power relations. Taking this into account, it is not surprising that over time the corps has
endured critique from outsiders on its exclusivity and participation in the process of reproduction
of social inequalities, which persists from the moment women become member of the corps but
also throughout their membership.
ere are some limitations to this study. Dierent corpora, in dierent times reect dierent corps
cultures, which make it dicult if not impossible to generalise about the social processes that underlie
network formation. is research highlights commonalities but corpora as social spaces, and their
corporal social rules, change through the years, as does the make-up of individuals and groups that
aspire to become members. is makes this study of the exploitability of social capital in such leisure
space a very complex and ambitious endeavour. Also, we need to acknowledge that gender as a social
construct is never static and develops and changes over time (Bradley, 2007). Femininity, as a mode
of (re-)enacting received gender norms, changes too, and is ‘inherently ambiguous, indeterminate,
contradictory and unstable’ (Skeggs, 2004a, p. 24), making its reading an on-going project. Finally, the
sample of women we interviewed was small and it lacks overall representation of women of dierent
ages. is would have been important to establish if components of social network formation, and
the appropriability of social capital changes over time.
354 M. ROELOFSEN AND K. PETERS
Notes
1. e nine corpora are united under an umbrella organisation called the Algemene Senaten Vergadering (ASV),
which looks aer the common interest of its members. In Amsterdam, Del, Groningen, Leiden and Wageningen
the corpora are the results of a unication of female- and male-only corpora during the 1970s. In Rotterdam and
Utrecht, the corpora are still divided into female-only and male-only associations. Following is a brief history
of the corpora, their years of establishment (est.) and their abbreviations (abbr.). e male-only Amsterdamsch
Studenten Corps (abbr. ASC) was founded in Amsterdam in 1851. Aer several failed attempts at unication,
it merged with its female counterpart (the Amsterdamsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereniging (abbr. AVSV; est.
1892)) in 1971. Since then, the Amsterdam corps is commonly addressed as the ASC/AVSV. In Del, the Delsch
Studenten Corps (abbr. DSC; est. 1848) was initially for men only, until its fusion with the Delsche Vrouwelijke
Studenten Vereeniging (abbr. DVSV; est. 1904) in 1976. e corps in Groningen, Groninger Studenten Corps
Vindicat atque Polit, (common abbr. Vindicat; est. 1815) merged with the female-only Groninger Vrouwelijke
Studenten Club Magna Pete (abbr. Magna Pete; est. 1898) in 1970. In Leiden, the corps Leidse Studenten Vereniging
Minerva (abbr. LSV Minerva) was established in 1972 aer a fusion between the male-only Leidsch Studenten
Corps (abbr. LSC; est. 1839) and the Vereeniging voor Vrouwelijke Studenten te Leiden (abbr. VVSL; est. 1900).
e Wageningen corps, Wageningsche Studenten Vereniging Ceres (abbr. CERES; est. 1898), fused with its
female counterpart Wageningsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging (abbr. W.V.S.V.; est. 1917) in 1970. In
Rotterdam, the corpora for women (the Rotterdamsch Vrouwelijke Studenten (abbr. RVSV; est. 1915)) and men
(e Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps (abbr. RSC; est. 1913)) still operate separately but share the same sociëteit
(albeit not the same rooms) and organise common activities since 1973. In Utrecht, the female-only corps
results from a merge between the Utrechtsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging (abbr. UVSV; est. 1899) and
the Nieuwe Vereniging van Vrouwelijke Studenten Utrecht (abbr. NVVSU; est. 1899) and operates under UVSV-
NVVSU and remains separate from its male counterpart the Utrechtsch Studenten Corps (abbr. USC; est. 1816).
2. Subsequently, a year club is sometimes placed in a chapter, a group of various year clubs that were each formed
in dierent years, ensuring that all new members of year clubs also connect with more senior members within
the corps.
Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the anonymous referees, the managing editors of Leisure studies, as well as Lauren Wagner for
their much-appreciated comments on earlier dras of this paper.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
Notes on contributors
Maartje Roelofsen is a PhD student at the Department of Geography and Regional Science at the University of Graz.
Her research interests include gender and class formation in leisure and tourism.
Karin Peters is an assistant professor at the Cultural Geography Group of Wageningen University. Her research interests
include leisure, public spaces, diversity and processes of inclusion and exclusion.
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