This paper is about Greek university students’ violation of the smoking law in public venues and their understanding of rights, duties and responsibilities. Thirty-one students (21 smokers) were interviewed and asked to describe and discuss their own and other students’ behaviour in relation to smoking in closed public places in terms of rights and duties. Additional material from the printed and electronic press has been used to provide a context to the students’ statements. Participant-smokers’ systematic violations of the smoke-free law spring from a peculiar view of rights, duties and responsibilities. Both behaviour and its theoretical underpinnings are reinforced in the context of the students’ leisure time “community of practice.” All those involved, that is, cafe owners/staff, customers and law-enforcers, contribute to encouraging smoking by rewarding those who violate the law and discouraging law-abiding behaviours. The authorities in charge usually avoid monitoring public venues for transgressions, which reduces to a minimum the danger of being caught and sanctioned. Cafe owners/staff tolerate smoking, which is interpreted as informal permission. Smokers invoke both customers’ behaviour and the staff’s tolerance as a justification for their own violations of the law. The paper ends with considerations about the status of school knowledge: somewhat weak if compared to the compelling authority of the informal knowledge people acquire in everyday interactions.


Greek University Students, Rights and Duties, Communities of Practice, Smoke-Free Law, Smoking Behaviour

Author Bio(s)

Luciana Benincasa is Associate Professor in Education at the University of Ioannina, Greece. She is author of School and Memory (2006) and Cheating and Student Culture: An Empirical Study(2013, in Greek), besides other studies published in Greek and international journals on ritual and the symbolic dimension of education. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: lbeninca@uoi.gr.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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