Conference presentation as part of the Privacy and Surveillance Panel on ‘Walled Gardens: An analysis of the public-private nature of online leisure spaces’ at the International Association for Media & Communication Research (IAMCR) in 13-17 July, 2011. In a nutshell, the presentation re(situates) Habermas’s theory on the public sphere, essential for our understandings on notions of ownership, authority, regulation, class, inclusivity/exclusivity in relation to leisure. The tensions of the public and private can be revealed through this parallel as we delve into questions of current importance in relation to online leisure: can we equate “public” space with “free” space? What are the trade-offs involved in keeping a social space “free?” How do we understand the notion of access to these cyberleisure spaces in relation to its current socio-cultural and economic boundaries? How “open” are contemporary leisure spaces and what are its determining factors? Overall, an analysis of the public versus private nature of cyberleisure spaces, both online and offline can shed light on what regulates and shapes contemporary leisure.

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