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4 Leisure and Recreation for Individuals in Society
Introduction This chapter considers the leisure of the individual in society: • • • • • •
Families Clans and tribes Neighborhoods and communities Villages, towns, and cities Gangs and clubs Unions, associations, and congregations
Human existence and development cannot occur without support from and interaction with others.
Leisure As a Complex Social Phenomenon Leisure is affected by many social institutions: • • • • •
Economics Politics Work Technology War
Solitary Leisure and Society • A few activities are entirely solitary, some are purely social, and most can be either private or communal. • Consider the following: – Solitary leisure does not take place in a social vacuum. – Individuals and groups profoundly affect our solitary leisure activities. – Leisure activities while we are alone influence the people and the world around us.
The World Around Us Consider how the world around us affects our private leisure in three ways:
1. By supporting it 2. By infringing upon it 3. By forcing us into it
Questions to Ponder: Solitary Leisure and Its Affect on Others • How does one person’s leisure directly and indirectly affect those around him? • Can solitary leisure have a positive influence on others? • Can solitary leisure have serious negative consequences, not just to the person but to those around her? • Can even a single act of solitary leisure have both negative and positive influences?
Implications for Leisure Professionals • Recognize the benefits and costs of solitary leisure pursuits to individuals, those around them, and society in general. • Most solo leisure activities require, at the least, space, some equipment and materials, and unencumbered time, but not a great many resources. • Recognize and educate the public about the essential balance that must exist between solitary leisure and leisure that directly involves others.
Primary Groups Defined • These are small groups in which there are face-to-face relations of a fairly intimate and personal nature. • Two basic types are families and cliques. In other words, they are organized around ties of either kinship or friendship (Lenski, Nolan, & Lenski, 1995).
Leisure and Primary Groups • Most leisure is undertaken with others. • Other people involved in the leisure activity are not merely bystanders; they are essential components of the activity. • “In general, people are more important in leisure than the form of the activity” (Kelly, 1987). • Social custom and societal expectations profoundly affect leisure when it is undertaken in the family and with close friends.
Life Span and Family Cycle and the Typical Leisure Activity • Some leisure activities are common and some less common at different stages of life. • A core of activities persist through a person’s life, especially their adult years (Kelly, 1999). • “General types of leisure” also tend to be common for many members of the same age group. • Variation, or balance, exists among and between the age groups.
Leisure Activity and the Family • Different cultures have various forms of kinship groupings. • The same culture may change its “notion” of family over time. • Families move through a series of predictable stages. • The stages are not separate and distinct with sharp dividing lines; rather, each stage tends to merge into the stage before and after it.
Discussion: Subject “Family”
Social custom and societal expectations profoundly affect leisure when it is undertaken in the family and with close friends. What is your direct experience with this?
Leisure and Secondary Groups • Henslin (1993) defines a secondary group as “a larger, relatively temporary, more anonymous, formal and impersonal group based on some interest or activity, whose members are likely to interact on the basis of specific roles.” • The influence an individual has on secondary groups, while not obvious, is very real.
Leisure, Recreation, and Gender • Gender is a social category that includes attitudes, expectation, and expressions of masculinity and femininity. Sex refers to the biological component of being either male or female. • Gender is one of the most defining characteristics human beings possess. Because of that, it is linked to leisure in many complex relationships.
Historical “Gender” Examples • Males have enjoyed a privileged position in all Western cultures. • Recreation activities for women have taken place in the home and have had a domestic component such as cooking, decorating, and providing activity for children. • Women are still responsible for the major duties in maintaining home and family. On average, women spend 50 hours each week on family work, while men average 11 hours. This limits the time available for leisure (Newman, 1999).
Russell’s 5 Conclusions 1. Disparity has decreased over the past century, but men continue to experience more leisure in terms of breadth and depth. 2. Long-entrenched roles for each gender significantly affect recreation. 3. Men’s recreation more often takes place beyond the confines of the home. Women more often participate in leisure in the home. (continued)
Russell’s 5 Conclusions (continued) 4. Women’s leisure and recreation is fragmented because of the burden of family care. Men can block out an entire afternoon or even a few days exclusively for leisure. 5. Older women especially may labor under the false belief that leisure must be earned or that they are not entitled to it at all.
Leisure, Ethnicity, and Race • Race refers to biological characteristics. • Ethnicity refers to cultural characteristics. Henslin (1993) notes that people of the same ethnicity “identify with one another on the basis of common ancestry and cultural heritage.” • Leisure participation rates vary according to race and ethnicity.
Leisure, Recreation, and Religion • “Religion has always been the anchor of identity for human beings. Religious beliefs give meaning to life, and the experiences associated with them provide personal gratification, as well as release from the frustrations and anxieties of daily life” (Eschleman, Cashion, & Basirico, 1993). • Relationship among leisure, recreation, and religion in the United States is long and complex. (continued)
Leisure, Recreation, and Religion (continued) • The leisure of most citizens was dominated by religion when America was just beginning. • Churches have recently used recreation as a tool to foster a sense of community, attract members, and keep members from activity that is harmful.
Leisure, Recreation, and Socioeconomic Class • Individuals of nearly all societies are categorized according to some combination of wealth, power, party affiliation, life chances, and prestige. • Some systems, like the caste system in India, are very rigid. The boundaries are distinct and movement between the different categories is nearly impossible. • A class system is much more fluid with overlap between classes and the possibility of movement up and down among the classes.
Newman’s Class System for the United States 1. The upper class is made up of owners of vast property and wealth. Some estimate that one half percent of the upper class owns more than 25% of the country’s wealth (Henslin, 1993). 2. The middle class is made up of managers, smallbusiness owners, and professionals. 3. The working class is made up predominantly of laborers who make modest wages and own little property. 4. Lower or poor class members are those who either work for minimum wages, are often unemployed, or who are unemployable.
Class Affects Sports Participation • “Recent research on sports and social equality in the United States demonstrates a general pattern of under-representation of people from the lowest income levels among active participants in organized sports and physical recreation.” (Gruneau, 1999) • “Economic stratification is at least a filter, with low incomes simply eliminating the majority of the population from cost-intensive activity.” (Kelly, 1996)
Good and Bad Leisure and Recreation • These are difficult to determine because of differences in individual values and interpretations. (There are several different and competing theories about what is “good and bad” and “right and wrong.”) • The individual and the various societies of which he or she is a part jointly determine goodness in all things, including leisure and recreation.
Implications for Professionals One must continue to drive home the point that leisure and recreation are essential: So important, in fact, that humans, regardless of their lot in life, have them by right, not because they are of a particular correct color, age, ethnicity, gender, religion, or class.
Group Discussion: Leisure Undertaken • Get into groups of 3……and discuss….. • The Relationship Among the Individual, Leisure, and Other Groups • Discuss the leisure undertaken in the following areas: – Leisure undertaken in primary groups – Leisure undertaken in secondary groups – Leisure that is entirely solitary
• Use the following questions to facilitate your discussion: – – – –
What are typical activities of this group? When does this type of leisure normally occur? Are costs associated with this type of leisure? What is the professional’s role with this group?