Sociology Leisure
by
Karla A. Henderson
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 September 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0136

Introduction

Leisure has been common in people’s lives throughout history. As a behavior, involvement in enjoyable games and activities has existed since humans first inhabited the earth. The first writings about leisure were done in ancient Greece, with individuals such as Aristotle arguing that the right use of leisure was the first principle of human activity. He believed that character developed only in leisure. However, only the wealthy and educated male citizens were entitled to leisure. The contemporary notion of leisure grew from the modern industrial age. Play and the playground movement as well as discussions of the value of recreation opportunities and activities within communities in the United States began more than one hundred years ago. Although leisure became more commonly acknowledged when time was demarcated as paid work or free time, the scholarly study of leisure was a phenomenon of the latter half of the 20th century. The examination of leisure related to human behavior was an initial focus of sociologists who explored the behavior of groups during their free time. With the growing importance of leisure in society, other disciplines such as psychology and economics also shaped understandings of leisure and the associated terms of recreation and play. Sometimes leisure and recreation are used interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same. Recreation is generally focused on participation in activities such as sports, arts, the outdoors, or music. Play has traditionally been associated with children, although play as related to adults is similar to dimensions of leisure. The focus of this article is on leisure as a behavior that traditionally encompasses free time, activity, and/or a state of mind or a personal experience of intrinsic satisfaction. Leisure has many meanings and is associated with numerous activities. This article focuses specifically on resources that address leisure behavior as personal and social phenomena.

General Overviews

The books that are included in this general overview section make a contribution to understanding leisure related to society from broad interdisciplinary perspectives. Brightbill 1960 offered one of the first overviews of the emerging concept of leisure as it applied to contemporary society. The editions of Kelly 2012 about leisure examine leisure from interdisciplinary perspectives. Bammel and Burrus-Bammel 1982 offered an important early perspective about how leisure cannot be separated from social concerns. A personal perspective about the meanings of leisure is proposed in Godbey 2008 in the revised editions of the author’s books. Further, Ibrahim 1991 shows the commonalities and differences related to leisure across cultures. Best 2010 offers a 21st-century view about the status of leisure from both North American and British perspectives. Finally, Rojek 2010 provides a critical perspective that challenges the other overviews presented in this section.

  • Bammel, Gene, and Lei Lane Burrus-Bammel. 1982. Leisure and human behavior. Dubuque, IA: Brown.

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    One of the earliest texts designed for undergraduates that integrates recreation and leisure into larger human and societal concerns, as opposed to treating them as separate entities apart from society. An interdisciplinary approach is used that focused on the role of leisure and recreation in modern life.

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    • Best, Shaun. 2010. Leisure studies: Themes and perspectives. London: SAGE.

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      The basis for this textbook is an examination of social theory regarding the meanings and structure of leisure. The focus is primarily on British and North American perspectives and presents a critical synthesis of ideas that have emerged over the years.

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      • Brightbill, Charles. 1960. The challenge of leisure. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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        Brightbill predicts major changes in society such as three-day weekends. He raises the question of whether people will be prepared for this free time. He explores the challenge of leisure, its costs, and its relation to other human activity such as recreation, religion, science, art, health, and education.

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        • Godbey, Geoffrey. 2008. Leisure in your life: New perspectives. State College, PA: Venture.

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          This book, and its preceding editions, is about leisure in people’s lives and what it means as well as the potential it has for personal growth. The book focuses on the individual and how she or he makes sense of leisure as well as how leisure affects the lives of others.

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          • Ibrahim, Hilmi. 1991. Leisure and society: A comparative approach. Dubuque, IA: Brown.

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            Ibrahim takes an evolutionary perspective to examine leisure throughout the world. He describes the role of rituals related to leisure in various countries through a sociocultural analysis. Ibrahim examines factors that have shaped leisure behavior and the places where it occurs.

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            • Kelly, John R. 2012. Leisure. 4th ed. Urbana, IL: Sagamore.

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              Kelly’s editions of this book integrate history, current data and trends, and conceptual approaches to critically examine perspectives about leisure. He addresses the value of leisure, what people do in leisure and where they participate. He encourages readers to contemplate what is unknown about this human behavior.

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              • Rojek, C. 2010. The labour of leisure: The culture of free time. London: SAGE.

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                Rojek has written several books that provide a critical examination of leisure. In this book he argues how leisure has become a form of labor. He challenges the traditional understandings of leisure as freedom and free time and suggests it is wholly linked to emotional labor and intelligence.

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                Journals

                Because the scholarly study of leisure is less than fifty years old, the emergence of scholarly journals is relatively new. Trade magazines related to recreation have been in existence over one hundred years, but research journals began with the first in 1969, Journal of Leisure Research. This US publication was followed by Leisure Sciences in 1977 and Leisure Studies published in the United Kingdom beginning in 1982. Leisure/Loisir is a Canadian publication that has gone by other names. Another English-language journal is the Annals of Leisure Research. World Leisure Journal has been available for more than fifty years, but has been focused on rigorous scholarship only in the last two decades.

                • Annals of Leisure Research. 1998–.

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                  This official publication of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies (ANZALS) focuses on worldwide perspectives with the predominance of articles coming from Australia and New Zealand. The journal was begun in 1998 to encourage leisure behavior research related to communities, sports, and tourism.

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                  • Journal of Leisure Research. 1969–.

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                    The official publication of the National Recreation and Park Association in cooperation with the University of Illinois and Sagamore Publishing LLC. Published five times a year with a broad focus on leisure behavior as applied to various activities. Special issues are published biannually on emerging topics of scholarly significance.

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                    • Leisure/Loisir. 1999–.

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                      Published through the Canadian Association for Leisure Studies since 1999. Prior to this, the journal was available through the Ontario government and had other names such as Journal of Applied Recreation Research. Focuses on the multi- and interdisciplinary aspects of leisure, recreation, parks, sport, and tourism. Published in both French and English and submissions are open to anyone.

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                      • Leisure Sciences. 1977–.

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                        An interdisciplinary journal that focuses on leisure from social science perspectives. Begun in 1977 as an independent journal aimed to focus on the social and psychological aspects of leisure and planning for leisure experiences. This international journal aims to engage academicians as well as consultants and practitioners who use research for planning and management.

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                        • Leisure Studies. 1982–.

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                          Publishes from a variety of disciplinary bases with a social sciences approach that also addresses leisure related to activities such as arts, sports, cultural, tourism, urban resources, and rural recreation. Established in 1982 by the Leisure Studies Association based in the United Kingdom.

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                          • World Leisure Journal. 2000–.

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                            This journal is the official publication of the World Leisure Organization. It was formerly known as World Leisure and Recreation, which was published from 1958 to 1999. International in scope with authors from around the world. All types of research accepted but publication occurs only in English.

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                            Philosophical Foundations

                            Before empirical leisure research was undertaken, a number of texts described leisure from philosophical perspectives. Nash 1953 is one of the earliest books about leisure and recreation from a philosophical perspective. Peiper 1952 offers an important perspective about leisure as spirituality and contemplation. Similarly, DeGrazia 1962 is widely cited for its discussion of how true leisure is experienced by few people because of the prominence of work in society. Linder 1970 also describes the scarce resource of time available for leisure. Philosophical implications of leisure as it has historically evolved are addressed in Goodale and Godbey 1988 as well as Dare, et al. 1987. From a personal philosophical perspective, Dustin 2012 offers stories about the author’s life that reflect his beliefs about leisure.

                            • Dare, Bryon, George Welton, and William Coe. 1987. Concepts of leisure in Western thought: A critical and historical analysis. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

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                              This book provides a philosophical description of how leisure has evolved not only from the United States but also from a broader Western perspective. The authors raise issues that move beyond a description of leisure to an analysis of how the concepts evolved.

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                              • DeGrazia, Sebastian. 1962. Of time, work, and leisure. New York: Twentieth Century Fund.

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                                This classic text discusses the nature of work and leisure, examines changing attitudes toward work, and argues that society is work-centric. DeGrazia believes that having more free time is a myth and that a great difference exists between free time and leisure. As a state of being, few people ever experience this psychological state.

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                                • Dustin, Daniel L. 2012. The wilderness within: Reflections on leisure and life. 4th ed. Urbana, IL: Sagamore.

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                                  In each edition of this book, Dustin adds more stories to illustrate his life and the meanings he associates with leisure. The book is highly readable and provides examples that many people can understand. Some of the writing is about outdoor recreation, but much of it is about daily living.

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                                  • Goodale, Thomas, and Geoffrey Godbey. 1988. The evolution of leisure: Historical and philosophical perspectives. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                    This book combines the conceptual history of leisure with concurrent philosophical implications. Many issues are raised that should be pondered related to the value of leisure as well as how judgments are made about the acceptability of certain leisure behaviors.

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                                    • Linder, Staffan. 1970. The harried leisure class. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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                                      Linder contends that people in rich countries have become harried in their attempts to increase productivity in their leisure time. Time is a scarce resource and to increase the productivity of leisure, people buy more goods leading to excessive consumption. People are harried and caught in a cycle of trying to buy pleasure.

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                                      • Nash, Jay. 1953. Philosophy of recreation and leisure. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

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                                        Nash wrote many philosophy-based books but this one sums a great deal of his thinking about who can be trusted with leisure and how people should be more than spectators in the world. He argues that leisure is a human need that must be satisfied.

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                                        • Peiper, Josef. 1952. Leisure: The basis of culture. New York: Random House.

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                                          Pieper wrote one of the most important leisure philosophy books, which is as useful today as when it was when written sixty years ago. He focuses on religion and how leisure allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. He argues that people must substitute meaningful leisure for hedonic entertainment if culture is to survive.

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                                          Conceptual Foundations

                                          Philosophical and conceptual foundations are related to one another. However, this group of books related to conceptual foundations focuses on how the philosophy of specific aspects of leisure might be applied to people’s everyday lives. Murphy 1981 focused on the prominence of leisure in people’s lives as well as the right of everyone to experience leisure. Similarly, Kraus 2000 also describes leisure and what it means related to the changing diversity of the world. Two areas that have been heavily researched are leisure constraints (Jackson 2005) and benefits (Driver, et al. 1991). These two areas and their associated edited books provide an integration of the research related to these related topics. An emerging conceptual foundation for leisure is its implications to health (Payne, et al. 2010). Wellman, et al. 2008 also provides another conceptual foundation of leisure as it relates to using leisure as a means to contribute to the public good. Mundy 1998 advocates an important overview about the need for leisure education.

                                          • Driver, Beverly L., Perry J. Brown, and George L. Peterson, eds. 1991. Benefits of leisure. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                            Driver, et al. examines leisure benefits from different disciplinary perspectives. They define benefits as desirable consequences of involvement in leisure and include physiological, psychological, sociological, and economic perspectives. This book was the stimulus for a national campaign to promote recreation and leisure in communities.

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                                            • Jackson, Edgar L., ed. 2005. Constraints to leisure. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                              The book brought together twenty years of research about leisure constraints. Researchers offer insights into the findings that were compiled related to diverse populations, new approaches to constraints research, and critique of the ideas surrounding constraints.

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                                              • Kraus, Richard. 2000. Leisure in a changing America: Trends and issues for the 21st century. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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                                                Rather than discuss leisure from sociological, psychological, or governmental perspectives, Kraus addresses a diversified account of leisure and recreation in American culture. He notes the dramatic changes in leisure behaviors due to ethnic/racial makeup and shifting gender roles as well as social and generational trends, the impact of disability, and the influence of urban/rural residence.

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                                                • Mundy, Jean. 1998. Leisure education: Theory and practice. 2d ed. Champaign, IL: Sagamore.

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                                                  Educating individuals for leisure is important, although it is not a widespread topic related to schools. The editions of this book provide a conceptual underpinning and overview of leisure education as well as an emphasis on the approaches and strategies that can be used in schools, treatment, and the community.

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                                                  • Murphy, James. 1981. Concepts of leisure. 2d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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                                                    This book presents an overview of concepts of leisure along with the coverage of issues that result in understanding the role of leisure in everyday life. Psychological and environmental perspectives are highlighted related to topics such as time, socioeconomic status, work-leisure relationships, and holistic and multivariate perspectives of leisure.

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                                                    • Payne, Laura, Barbara Ainsworth, and Geoffrey Godbey, eds. 2010. Leisure, health, and wellness: Making the connections. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                      The editors believe that leisure is an important issue in achieving and maintaining good health. This book uses transdisciplinary approaches by including chapters co-written by leisure and public health researchers. The topics relate to how parks, recreation, and leisure studies contribute to the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, and societies and vice versa.

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                                                      • Wellman, Doug, Dan Dustin, Karla Henderson, and Roger Moore. 2008. Service living: Building community through public parks and recreation. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                        Using the biographies of four people who contributed in various ways to promoting recreation and public lands in the United States, the authors contend that society will move forward only when people become engaged in public service to promote what they believe is important related to leisure and recreation.

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                                                        Leisure Theory

                                                        One of the critiques leveled at leisure research is the lack of theory that emerges in the research. The study of leisure has relied on many other disciplines for its theoretical foundations. However, several individuals have described the importance of explicating leisure theory. Veblen 1979 combined sociology and economics to describe the attributes of the emerging leisure class. Kaplan 1981 offered an argument for equating leisure with social policy. Rojek 1995 and Rojek 2005 propose contemporary perspectives on the postmodern dimensions of leisure as a way to understand it more broadly. Stebbins 2007 proposed the idea of serious leisure, which some people view as a theory and others view as a perspective about leisure. Regardless, serious leisure has provided a theoretical foundation for numerous research studies.

                                                        • Kaplan, Max. 1981. Leisure: Theory and policy. Reprint. Springfield, IL: Thomas.

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                                                          Kaplan established that human values and leisure are closely linked. He suggested that knowing about leisure involves more than using scientific data. Kaplan describes leisure within the context of a system rather than a discipline. Further, he aims to establish a foundation for behavior and public policy related to leisure.

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                                                          • Rojek, Chris. 1995. Decentring leisure: Rethinking leisure theory. London: SAGE.

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                                                            Rojek argues that leisure cannot be separated from the postmodern society. He notes that definitions of leisure typically revolve around freedom, choice, and satisfaction but these ideas do not reflect the experience of living in the world. Leisure is socially conditioned, which means it can never be free and cannot be set apart from the rest of society.

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                                                            • Rojek, Chris. 2005. Leisure theory: Principles and practice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                              Rojek demonstrates the key theoretical concepts involved in analyzing leisure and how leisure behavior is shaped through the life course. He believes that class, gender, race, and status molds and regulates leisure behavior. He urges readers to test theoretical propositions against patterns of behavior.

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                                                              • Stebbins, Robert. 2007. Serious leisure: A perspective for our time. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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                                                                This book gathers together the scattered research about serious and casual leisure. Stebbins first proposed the idea of serious leisure almost twenty years ago and this book pulls together his current thinking and that of others who have explored the topic. Although not a theory, this perspective has been widely applied in leisure research.

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                                                                • Veblen, Thorstein. 1979. The theory of the leisure class. New York: Penguin.

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                                                                  This masterpiece regarding leisure theory was originally published in 1899. Its influence has grown greatly since it was first written. One of the phrases in particular, conspicuous consumption, has become common in people’s vocabularies. His examination of the leisure class as an economic factor in society and its relationship to culture is an important analysis of socioeconomic development.

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                                                                  Leisure Research

                                                                  Many research studies have been undertaken about leisure in the last forty years as indicated by the journals listed under Journals. However, several books have also provided a foundation for better understanding the research that has occurred. Barnett 1995 provided an overview of the early history of leisure research. Jackson and Burton 1999 offered an important edited book that summarized the state of research on various leisure-related topics. One of the most cited special issues of a journal was a millennial edition of the Journal of Leisure Research (Samdahl, et al. 2000) that included a variety of topics about leisure. Rojek, et al. 2006 also pulled together major contemporary conceptual thinking about leisure. Although many textbooks have been written about leisure research, the qualitative focus presented in Henderson 2006 opened the door for emerging methods that greatly influenced leisure research in the last twenty years.

                                                                  • Barnett, Lynn A., ed. 1995. Research about leisure: Past, present, and future. 2d ed. Champaign, IL: Sagamore.

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                                                                    This edited books brings together thinking about the ontogeny and future of leisure research based on its last thirty-year history. The chapters illustrate the importance of leisure to individuals, groups, cultures, and society. Each chapter presents a disciplinary review of previous and current research, and concludes with suggested directions for future inquiry.

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                                                                    • Henderson, Karla A. 2006. Dimensions of choice: Qualitative approaches to parks, recreation, tourism, sport, and leisure research. 2d ed. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                      Although many good books have been written about basic approaches to leisure research, the first edition of this book published in 1991 provided a foundation for individuals in the leisure field to pursue an emerging qualitative approach to leisure research. The book is an overview of the philosophy, data collection, and analysis procedures of this approach to research as it relates to leisure studies.

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                                                                      • Jackson, Edgar L., and Timothy L. Burton, eds. 1999. Leisure studies: Prospects for the twenty-first century. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                        An earlier book by the same authors also provided a view of leisure studies from primarily a North American research perspective. The purpose of these books was to compile and assess what had been learned about leisure and what the next steps would be. This 1999 edition reflected new topics that had emerged (e.g., ethnicity, feminism) and re-conceptualized other topics.

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                                                                        • Rojek, Chris, Susan M. Shaw, and Anthony J. Veal, eds. 2006. A handbook of leisure studies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                          The editors designed this handbook to address the ways leisure forms and practice have been situated and developed. Globalization is a major theme of this book but other dimensions such as interdisciplinarity, power (i.e., the positioning of leisure related to power), process, and context provide the framework for critically examining leisure from contemporary perspectives.

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                                                                          • Samdahl, Diane M., David Scott, and Ellen Weissinger, eds. 2000. Special issue: Turning the century: Reflections on leisure research. Journal of Leisure Research 32.1.

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                                                                            This special issue of the journal marks the millennium and an opportunity to reflect on the status of leisure studies and what may lie ahead. Forty authors provided short articles about whatever was on their minds regarding leisure research and behavior.

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                                                                            Leisure History

                                                                            Leisure has existed as long as people have inhabited the earth, although the concept is a more recent topic of study. Although leisure has been implicit in many historical accounts of life in the United States and elsewhere, several individuals have written about the historic evolution of leisure and recreation primarily from Western perspectives beginning five hundred years ago. Dulles 1965 described how leisure came to be important in the United States and then how leisure services emerged from those needs. An examination of leisure as it historically evolved as part of people’s lifestyles was provided in Braden 1988. Cross 1990 examined how leisure behaviors converged as well as diverged in the United States and Britain, while Borsay 2006 focused mainly on British experiences. More recent examinations of history came from 20th-century perspectives offered in Giordano 2003 and an insightful examination of the importance of weekends as a leisure phenomenon as offered in Rybczynski 1992. All these authors emphasized that leisure can be understood today only because of the context of the past.

                                                                            • Borsay, Peter. 2006. A history of leisure: The British experience since 1500. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                              One of the intentions of this book was to establish the importance of leisure in the study of British history. The years 1500–2000 are analyzed to explore the structural and cultural dimensions of leisure. Issues surrounding leisure are described related to commercialization, the state, and class.

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                                                                              • Braden, Donna R. 1988. Leisure and entertainment in America. Dearborn, MI: Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village.

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                                                                                As an overview of the emergence of leisure in America, Braden addresses the dominance of a middle-class culture and its influence on the democratization of leisure, the commercialization of leisure as an industry and its connection to consumerism, and the theme of cultural assimilation as some leisure activities became popular on a national level.

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                                                                                • Cross, Gary. 1990. A social history of leisure since 1600. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                                  Cross offers a picture of how leisure behaviors have changed. His analysis starts in the 1600s as he believes that this was the time when leisure began transforming. Cross’s focus is on a number of activities ranging from popular culture to sports. He contends that as leisure and play have changed, both gains and losses have occurred.

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                                                                                  • Dulles, Foster R. 1965. A history of recreation: American learns to play. 2d ed. New York: Meredith.

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                                                                                    Dulles defines recreation as the leisure-time cultural and creative activities that American people have pursued for enjoyment for over three centuries. He contends that men and women have spent much of their leisure in informal ways such as talking with and entertaining their friends, and organized public recreation came about to provide structured opportunities for leisure.

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                                                                                    • Giordano, Ralph G. 2003. Fun and games in twentieth-century America: A historical guide to leisure. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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                                                                                      Rapid changes occurred in the United States throughout the 20th century. In the midst of this change, people continue to seek amusement, entertainment, recreation, and enjoyment. The importance of this book is descriptions of how political, economic, and cultural events influenced the history and development of leisure pursuits among Americans of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

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                                                                                      • Rybczynski, Witold. 1992. Waiting for the weekend. New York: Penguin.

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                                                                                        Rybczynski describes the history of leisure from ancient Rome to today. He argues that breaks from the routine of work have been common throughout history such as market days, public festivals, holy days, and now, weekends. People value this weekend time and use it to refresh themselves from work.

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                                                                                        Play

                                                                                        Play is a frequently misunderstood concept when applied to adults. A great deal has been written about the importance of children’s play from developmental perspectives but little has focused on how play might also be defined as leisure for adults. These two books offer important perspectives about play as a human development need for all individuals throughout their lives. Huizinga 1955 set the stage for understanding the many dimensions of play and how it is demonstrated often in people’s daily lives. Ellis 1973 pulled together the various perspectives on play and offered a contemporary view of play as optimal arousal that applies to adults as well as children.

                                                                                        • Ellis, Michael. 1973. Why people play. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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                                                                                          Ellis describes what play is and what motivates people to play. He begins by discussing play in the lives of children and its influence on their development. He links play and leisure and analyzes sociological and psychological theories of play and learning to formulate a theory of play that he defines as arousal seeking activity, which he also applies to leisure services.

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                                                                                          • Huizinga, Johan. 1955. Homo ludens. Boston: Beacon.

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                                                                                            Homo ludens translates as “man the player.” Huizinga discusses the importance of play forms in culture and society. He suggests that play is primary to and a necessary, although not sufficient, condition of culture. The characteristics of play are defined in detail and he also describes how the most significant aspect of play is fun.

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                                                                                            Work

                                                                                            Work and leisure are often discussed together because definitions of leisure often suggest it is free or unobligated time—time away from work. Although this definition is somewhat problematic because some people are not in the paid work force (e.g., homemakers, people with disabilities), the relationship of work and leisure cannot be denied. As noted earlier, philosophers such as Brightbill and Nash reflected on the concerns about society when work hours were shortened (see Philosophical Foundations). The citations in this section link work and leisure and describe their relationships. The relationships have the potential to liberate people for leisure and also have the possibilities of challenging social values. Parker 1971 and Smigel 1963 describe some of the relationships and their potential implications as leisure was gaining greater salience in society. The possibilities of a four-day workweek and its implications for leisure are described in Poor 1970. Hunnicutt 1988 discusses the history of work in the United States and why the further reduction of work hours could be problematic in a work-centric society. A lively debate has occurred in the last two decades between Schor 1993 and Robinson and Godbey 2008, who differ regarding whether or not people have more leisure today than they have had in the past. Gershuny 2003 also interrogates the current perceptions of work and leisure in relation to theories about time. Mair, et al. 2010 provides a recent critique about why work continues to be the center of people’s lives and what might be different if leisure was central.

                                                                                            • Gershuny, J. 2003. Changing times: Work and leisure in postindustrial society. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                              This text examines the political economy of time as it relates to work and leisure. Gershuny examines the historical changes in the conditions of life. He asks whether time is running out and how micro- and macro-theory relate to the allocation and balancing of time reflected in work and leisure.

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                                                                                              • Hunnicutt, Benjamin. 1988. Working without end: Abandoning shorter hours for the right to work. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                Hunnicutt traces the history of work in America and how the trend went from struggling to get shorter work weeks to the end of this reform movement. He questions why free time was once so highly valued and then became devalued in favor of material wealth rather than the benefits that could be derived from leisure.

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                                                                                                • Mair, Heather, Susan Arai, and Donald Reid, eds. 2010. Decentring work: Critical perspectives on leisure, social policy, and human development. Calgary, AB: Univ. of Calgary Press.

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                                                                                                  The editors compiled this book to encourage scholars and practitioners to rethink the relationships between leisure, social policy, and human development. Leisure studies scholars from Canada were the primary contributors to this book that questions how paid employment came to be valued as the marker of social success and individual self-worth.

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                                                                                                  • Parker, Stanley. 1971. The future of work and leisure. New York: Praeger.

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                                                                                                    This classic text focuses on the relationship between work and leisure and how they must be examined together. Parker laments that leisure is seen as a problem and work is not. Further, he ponders why the quantity of leisure time has increased and yet many people find work more absorbing. From his British perspectives, he also discusses the implications of social policy in the future.

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                                                                                                    • Poor, Roberta. 1970. Four days, forty hours: Reporting a revolution in work and leisure. Cambridge, MA: Bursk and Poor.

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                                                                                                      During the 1960s, a four-day, forty-hour workweek appeared to be spreading rapidly in society. This book describes research and case studies undertaken to explore innovations in work hours that had implications for leisure and the good life.

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                                                                                                      • Robinson, John P., and Geoffrey Godbey. 2008. Time for life: The surprising ways Americans use their time. 3d ed. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                        These authors argue that Americans have more free time than they did thirty years ago. The book was first published in 1997 with great controversy over the findings. This 2008 edition updates the previous work and finds the same results that people have more free time than before, although many people do not perceive that they have more time.

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                                                                                                        • Schor, Juliet. 1993. The overworked American: The unexpected decline of leisure. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                          Based on her background in economics, Schor argues that, contrary to expectations, Americans are working harder than ever. She shows how work hours have increased and points out how women have less time than men. This overwork, however, affects everyone and she asks why people choose money over free time.

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                                                                                                          • Smigel, Edward, ed. 1963. Work and leisure: A contemporary social problem. New Haven, CT: College and Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                            Leisure can be related to social problems such as juvenile delinquency, unemployment, and retirement. Although leisure is a privilege, it can also be disruptive and therefore must be seriously studied and debated. Most of the chapters are written by sociologists for sociologists.

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                                                                                                            Leisure and Disciplinary Approaches

                                                                                                            As noted earlier, little theory exists that can be called leisure theory. Therefore, much of the research undertaken has used theories and concepts based on disciplinary approaches to examining human behavior. Most people recognize today that leisure is a highly interdisciplinary idea, but the disciplinary perspectives that have been applied, mostly historically, are important to acknowledge. Early perspectives on leisure and especially those that examined work and leisure together came from sociologists such as in Dumazdier 1974, Kelly and Godbey 1992, and Roberts 2006. Psychologists also explored leisure and its intrinsic meanings. The research in Neulinger 1974 and Neulinger 1981 offers a means to study leisure empirically using constructs from psychology. Csikszentimihalyi 2000 (originally published in 1975) introduced the concept of flow, based largely on psychological measures of the relationship between boredom and anxiety. Although most of Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi’s initial research related to work activities, it has been widely applied to leisure research. Iso-Ahola 1980 provides pioneering research in its examinations that emphasize that leisure can best be understood as a social psychological perspective, which acknowledges the individual in society. Kleiber, et al. 2011 provides an update of the research conducted over the last thirty years that used this social psychological approach.

                                                                                                            • Csikszentimihalyi, Mihaly. 2000. Beyond boredom and anxiety: The experience of playing in work and games. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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                                                                                                              Csikszentimihalyi describes a psychological state of flow. He contends that people strive to make their lives meaningful through the activities they pursue related to work and play. This book has greatly shaped the way that many researchers have conceptualized leisure and enjoyable activity. Originally published in 1975.

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                                                                                                              • Dumazdier, Joffre. 1974. Sociology of leisure. New York: Elsevier.

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                                                                                                                The French sociologist Dumazdier argues that people have more free time, yet leisure is misunderstood and many people do not know how to use it. The book was originally written in French and translated to English based on the origins of leisure in France and the Soviet Union. He views leisure as a historical creation evolving owing to changes in the economy and social structures.

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                                                                                                                • Iso-Ahola, Seppo. 1980. The social psychology of leisure. Dubuque, IA: Brown.

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                                                                                                                  This groundbreaking book provides a comprehensive discussion of how leisure can be analyzed from a social psychological perspective. Until Iso-Ahola’s book, psychology and sociology had been separate ways to examine leisure. He demonstrates through research examples how leisure should be analyzed from this social psychological perspective and set the stage for most future leisure research.

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                                                                                                                  • Kelly, John, and Geoffrey Godbey. 1992. The sociology of leisure. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                                                                    The authors are both sociologists who argue that sociology is a broad discipline. Three major theoretical perspectives guide an understanding of leisure and society: functional, critical, and symbolic interaction theory. They also suggest that activities, times, and places do not provide clear definitional boundaries between leisure and other aspects of daily life.

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                                                                                                                    • Kleiber, Douglas A., Gordon J. Walker, and Roger C. Mannell. 2011. A social psychology of leisure. 2d ed. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                                                                      This contemporary book focuses on examining social psychological theory and research about leisure behavior and experience. How people perceive time or behavior as free or discretionary, how and why people choose their leisure behavior and experiences, and the implications of these choices for their well-being related to other domains such as work, family, and interpersonal relationships are examined.

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                                                                                                                      • Neulinger, John. 1974. The psychology of leisure: Research approaches to the study of leisure. Springfield, IL: Thomas.

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                                                                                                                        Neulinger proposes a model of leisure based on a psychological approach regarding perceived freedom and a state of mind in which a person can freely choose an activity. He describes six states: pure leisure, leisure-work, leisure-job, pure work, work-job, and pure job, and offers a means to measure these states.

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                                                                                                                        • Neulinger, John. 1981. To leisure: An introduction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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                                                                                                                          From a psychological perspective, Neulinger discusses the role of leisure within the context of the quality of life. He notes that leisure has many meanings but he uses it in this text to mean a positive state of mind. Further, he argues that leisure is the criterion by which quality of life can be assessed.

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                                                                                                                          • Roberts, Kenneth. 2006. Leisure in contemporary society. 2d ed. Cambridge, MA: CABI.

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                                                                                                                            Roberts contends from a sociological perspective that leisure has been a major force in changing people’s lives. The bounding of working time and the rise in spending power have been sociological trends that are likely to continue. He also shows how leisure studies has developed significantly as an academic discipline.

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                                                                                                                            Leisure and Diversity

                                                                                                                            A definite trend that has occurred over the years related to the study of leisure concerns the emerging focus on diversity. Leisure can be understood differently based on characteristics such as gender, age, race, culture, and socioeconomic status. Feminist research has particularly dominated as scholars have recognized that leisure does not necessarily have the same meanings for many women compared to men. The earliest research that raised questions about whether women had leisure came from the work in Deem 1986 and Green, et al. 1990 from the United Kingdom. Henderson, et al. 1996 provided a North American perspective in the two editions of the authors’ books. Wearing 1998 provides the best summary of how leisure and feminist theory can be connected in its exploration of the various approaches to studying women’s leisure. Aitchison 2003 offers a theoretical critique of the many dimensions of women’s lives that are influenced by social and cultural perspectives. Some texts have also explored leisure from lifespan perspectives. Kaplan 1979 first explored leisure as it changed for people as they aged. A recent edited book in Gibson and Singleton 2012 provides further examination of what leisure means for older people in different life situations. An important edited book that examines the importance of leisure and recreation for youth development was compiled in Witt and Caldwell 2005. Unfortunately to date little has been written about leisure specifically related to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

                                                                                                                            • Aitchison, Cara C. 2003. Gender and leisure: Social and cultural perspectives. London: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                              The social-cultural nexus of gender and leisure is the underlying theme of this book. The emphasis is on the multiple identities of women and is written from a post-structuralist perspective. A theoretical critique integrates the social and cultural perspectives of everyday experiences as well as the issues facing working women.

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                                                                                                                              • Deem, Rosemary. 1986. All work and no play? The sociology of women and leisure. Milton Keynes, UK: Open Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                Deem uses her research as well as that of others to examine the meanings of leisure for women in the United Kingdom. Leisure is treated broadly and Deem emphasizes the complex relations within leisure due to gender, leisure, age, and race. Constraints placed on women are often due to men’s expectations of women.

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                                                                                                                                • Gibson, Heather J., and Jerome F. Singleton, eds. 2012. Leisure and aging: Theory and practice. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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                                                                                                                                  This edited book provides a description of the basis of leisure and leisure services for growing populations of older adults. Theories and methodologies for studying leisure in older adults are presented along with ideas about healthy aging, older adults and leisure in communities, and leisure in long-term care.

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                                                                                                                                  • Green, Eileen, Sandra Hebron, and Diana Woodward. 1990. Women’s leisure, what leisure? Houndsmills, UK: Macmillan.

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                                                                                                                                    The socialist feminist approach to examining leisure as understood by women was an important contribution to the literature because the leisure boom was going strong and a great deal of misunderstanding existed about leisure among both men and women. The authors challenge that assumptions about leisure apply similarly to women and men.

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                                                                                                                                    • Henderson, K. A., M. Deborah Bialeschki, Susan M. Shaw, and Valeria J. Freysinger. 1996. Both gains and gaps: Feminist perspectives on women’s leisure. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                                                                                      The two editions of this book focus on the growing body of research about women’s leisure. Women’s studies and leisure research are brought together to emphasize how women’s leisure can be viewed from different perspectives all focused on opportunities for equality, equity, integrity, and freedom of choice.

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                                                                                                                                      • Kaplan, Max. 1979. Leisure, lifestyle and lifespan: Perspectives for gerontology. Philadelphia: Saunders.

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                                                                                                                                        This book illustrates how gerontologists can meet the needs of retiring older adults. Kaplan emphasizes that leisure is an important concern for individuals as they age. He describes why and how leisure will be undertaken and how it will be take on an expressive role in people’s lives.

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                                                                                                                                        • Wearing, Betsy. 1998. Leisure and feminist theory. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                          This book provides examples of theories that can be applied to studying leisure. It not only focuses on women for its examples, but is an excellent presentation about how particular theories might be applied to leisure in general and what the outcomes of the theoretical analyses would be.

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                                                                                                                                          • Witt, Peter A., and Linda L. Caldwell, eds. 2005. Recreation and youth development. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                                                                                            This edited book includes a focus on positive youth development and how recreation and leisure can be used to influence development. The emphasis is mainly on adolescents with chapters about the potential of youth, diversity among youth, and community resources and services.

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                                                                                                                                            Leisure and the Outdoors

                                                                                                                                            Leisure is associated with numerous activities such as sports and arts. However, outdoor recreation is specifically discussed here because much of the early leisure research was a result of the US government’s interest in the implications of recreation and leisure for society, and specifically the management of public lands. One of the most important philosophical foundations for outdoor recreation and the land ethic came in Leopold 1989 (originally published in 1949). The start of a good deal of funding for research as well as for outdoor recreation resource management began with the report about outdoor recreation that was mandated by the federal government (Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission 1962). The writings in Nash 2001 in the author’s editions of his book on wilderness also shaped thinking about the importance of leisure in the outdoors. Driver, et al. 1996 brought together many of the ideas about the spiritual dimensions of the outdoors. Further, Dustin, et al. 2011 focused on the philosophical importance of the protection of land for outdoor recreation. The multidimensional aspects of outdoor recreation as it relates to leisure can be found in Jenkins and Pigram 2003.

                                                                                                                                            • Driver, Beverly L., Daniel Dustin, Tony Baltic, George Elsner, and George Patterson, eds. 1996. Nature and the human spirit: Toward an expanded land management. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                                                                                              Driver and his colleagues argue that leisure and the outdoors facilitate a spiritual renewal in people’s lives. They advocate that public land management agencies must consider and support these hard-to-define nature-based values. They offer suggestions for future research about the spiritual values of leisure and recreation.

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                                                                                                                                              • Dustin, Daniel L., Leo H. McAvoy, John H. Schultz, Kelly Bricker, Jeff Rose, and Keri Schwab. 2011. Stewards of access/custodians of choice: A philosophical foundation for the park and recreation profession. 4th ed. Champaign, IL: Sagamore.

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                                                                                                                                                The authors of the four editions of this book believe in the potential of public parks and recreation, and the idea that a healthy environment is foundational for all recreation behavior. Dustin, et al. advocate that park and recreation professionals have a critical educational role to play in assuring that the general public understands ecological reality.

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                                                                                                                                                • Jenkins, John M., and John J. Pigram, eds. 2003. Encyclopedia of leisure and outdoor recreation. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                  This reference guide focuses on explorations of the multidisciplinary field of leisure and outdoor recreation. The content reflects explanations of how traditional disciplines have contributed to understanding leisure as well as descriptions of concepts, models, theories, and practices concerning leisure and outdoor recreation.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Leopold, Aldo. 1989. A Sand County almanac and sketches here and there. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                    Leopold’s book, which was edited by his son and published after his death, is considered a landmark in the conservation movement and has stimulated widespread interest in ecology as a science. The book has been a foundation for examining the human dimension of natural resources as they relate to outdoor recreation. Originally published in 1949.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Nash, Roderick. 2001. Wilderness and the American mind. 4th ed. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                      This classic work by Nash includes both a cultural and philosophical discussion of the evolution of the concept of the American wilderness. He uses historical examples to show how the concept of wilderness as both a good and a bad place came into being and its implications for outdoor recreation.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. 1962. Outdoor recreation for America: A report to the President and to the Congress. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

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                                                                                                                                                        This report, which includes numerous volumes of data summary, was pivotal in changing the way that many Americans viewed outdoor recreation as well as recreation in general. The findings and recommendations influenced the nation’s policies about the availability of recreation opportunities for several decades. Text available online.

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                                                                                                                                                        Leisure Services

                                                                                                                                                        An outgrowth of the examination of leisure has been its application to professional practice and services. Many texts have been written about leadership, programming, and management related to what is referred to as parks and recreation and for a period of time, leisure services. The terminology of leisure services has not been widely used in the 21st century because it was misunderstood by many individuals in the public. Recreation services has replaced this term, but as a professional field of practice, specialties such as sport management, tourism, event management, and resource management are commonly applied. Nevertheless, when considering the importance of leisure, the professional aspects must be mentioned regarding the structures for providing leisure choices in people’s lives. Several professional pioneers offered useful approaches to using an understanding of leisure to apply to facilitating meaningful activities for people in their communities (i.e., parks and recreation). Sessoms, et al. 1975 offered several editions of the authors’ books that focused on the importance of leisure systems in communities. Weiskopf 1975 and Jensen 1977 provide foundational examples of how leisure services should be developed based on the huge interest and need to find meaningful opportunities aside from work. Murphy 1975 examined leisure services regarding their impact on human development. Murphy, et al. 1991 explored the growing diversity of leisure management systems. Changes in leisure in society provided the basis for leisure service management as described in several books and revised editions in Kraus 2001. The work of Goodale and Witt 1980 pulled together the status of the rapidly expanding professional development related to leisure services. Further, Veal 2010 analyzed the provision of leisure services including sports and tourism related to public policy and planning.

                                                                                                                                                        • Goodale, Thomas L., and Peter A. Witt. 1980. Recreation and leisure: Issues in an era of change. 3d ed. State College, PA: Venture.

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                                                                                                                                                          The editions of this book focus on how change reshapes recreation and leisure in society, and also what these changes mean concerning challenges associated with providing recreation, park, and leisure services. The emphasis is on challenging students who will become future professionals.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Jensen, Clayne. 1977. Leisure and recreation: Introduction and overview. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger.

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                                                                                                                                                            Jensen wrote one of the earliest textbooks that describes leisure time and what it will mean to Americans, particularly in providing recreation and parks as an emerging professional field. He presents a picture of leisure trends and the scope and magnitude of future employment opportunities.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Kraus, Richard. 2001. Recreation and leisure in modern society. 6th ed. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.

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                                                                                                                                                              The editions of this book address the history and philosophy of recreation and leisure, but focus mainly on the role of organized recreation and leisure services in North America. Kraus describes demographic changes and the implications for service delivery.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Murphy, James F.. 1975. Recreation and leisure service: A humanistic perspective. Dubuque, IA: Brown.

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                                                                                                                                                                In this pioneering effort, Murphy presents the history, basic concepts, issues, concerns, and scope of recreation and leisure service as a humanistic process in which leisure is dynamic and developmental and offers an essential community function.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Murphy, James F., E. William Niepoth, Lynn M. Jamieson, and John G. Williams. 1991. Leisure systems: Critical concepts and applications. Champaign, IL: Sagamore.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The goal of this book is to provide an overview of the systems characteristics of leisure services. The authors describe the expansion and diversity of the field, offer a discussion of critical concepts about leisure delivery, and apply a service-oriented structure for managing leisure organizations.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Sessoms, H. Douglas., Harold D. Meyer, and Charles K. Brightbill. 1975. Leisure services: The organized recreation and park system. 5th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Sessoms and his colleagues contend that parks and recreation should have as its mission the goal to enrich life through the provision of opportunities for meaningful leisure expression. This text focuses on the social aspects of the parks and recreation movement and the role of government in meeting people’s leisure needs.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Veal, A. J. 2010. Leisure, sport and tourism: Politics, policy and planning. 3d ed. Wallingford, UK: CABI.

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                                                                                                                                                                      This introductory text examines policymaking and planning in the public leisure, sport, and tourism sectors. Veal examines theoretical issues underpinning public sector policymaking and addresses challenges such as assessing leisure demand and benefits, human rights, the state versus the market, and models of organizational decision-making.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Weiskopf, Donald C. 1975. A guide to recreation and leisure. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

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                                                                                                                                                                        This book focuses on the importance of leisure services as a rapidly expanding response to the demand for recreation and leisure opportunities. He discusses the role of the professional and the preparation and training necessary to meet stronger professional standards for quality leisure opportunities.

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