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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Public parks were initially set aside for recreation and leisure.

Leisure or free time, is a period of time spent out of work and essential domestic activity. It is also the period of recreational and discretionary time before or after compulsory activities such as eating and sleeping, going to work or running a business, attending school and doing homework, household chores, and day-to-day stress. The distinction between leisure and compulsory activities is loosely applied, i.e. people sometimes do work-oriented tasks for pleasure as well as for long-term utility.[1] Distinction may also arise between free time and leisure. For example, criticicism of consumer capitalism by the Situationist International maintains that free time is illusory and rarely free and instead, economic and social forces appropriate it from the individual and sell it back to him as a commodity in the form of leisure.[2] Leisure studies is the academic discipline concerned with the study and analysis of leisure.

Contents

History

Detail from Rest (1896). Charles Sprague Pearce, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

The word leisure comes from the Latin word licere, meaning "to be permitted" or "to be free", via Old French leisir, and first appeared in the early fourteenth century.[3] The notions of leisure and leisure time are thought to have emerged in Victorian Britain in the late nineteenth century, late in the Industrial Revolution. Early factories required workers to perform long shifts, often up to eighteen hours per day, with only Sundays off work. By the 1870s though, more efficient machinery and the emergence of trade unions resulted in decreases in working hours per day, and allowed industrialists to give their workers Saturdays as well as Sundays off work.

Affordable and reliable transport in the form of railways allowed urban workers to travel on their days off, with the first package holidays to seaside resorts appearing in the 1870s, a trend which spread to industrial nations in Europe and North America. As workers channeled their wages into leisure activities, the modern entertainment industry (beginning with the film industry) emerged in industrialized nations, catering to entertain workers on their days off. This Victorian concept—the weekend—heralded the beginning of leisure time as it is known today.

Definitions

There are many different definitions of leisure. One popular social psychological theory of leisure was put forward by psychology professor John Neulinger in the early 1970s. Neulinger defined leisure using three criteria:[4]

  1. The experience is a state of mind.
  2. It must be entered voluntarily.
  3. It must be intrinsically motivating of its own merit.

Other theories abound. Sebastian de Grazia portrayed leisure as a form of contemplation. Seppo Iso-Ahola adapted a form of optimal arousal to explain leisure. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory is another popular definition of leisure.

Types of leisure

  • Active leisure activities involve the exertion of physical or mental energy. Low-impact physical activities include walking and yoga, which expend little energy and have little contact or competition. High-impact activities such as kick-boxing and football consume much energy and are competitive. Some active leisure activities involve almost no physical activity, but do require a substantial mental effort, such as playing chess or painting a picture. Active leisure and recreation overlap significantly.
  • Passive leisure activities are those in which a person does not exert any significant physical or mental energy, such as going to the cinema, watching television, or gambling on slot machines. Some leisure experts discourage these types of leisure activity, on the grounds that they do not provide the benefits offered by active leisure activities. For example, acting in a community drama (an active leisure activity) could build a person's skills or self-confidence. Nevertheless, passive leisure activities are a good way of relaxing for many people.

Cultural differences

Men relaxing in a cafe overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Time for leisure varies from one society to the next, although anthropologists have found that hunter-gatherers tend to have significantly more leisure time than people in more complex societies. As a result, band societies such as the Shoshone of the Great Basin came across as extraordinarily lazy to European colonialists.[5]

Capitalist societies often view active leisure activities positively, because active leisure activities require the purchase of equipment and services, which stimulates the economy. Capitalist societies often accord greater status to members who have more wealth. One of the ways that wealthy people can choose to spend their money is by having additional leisure time.

Workaholics are those who work compulsively at the expense of other activities. They prefer to work rather than spend time socializing and engaging in other leisure activities. Many see this as a necessary sacrifice to attain high-ranking corporate positions. Increasing attention, however, is being paid to the effects of such imbalance upon the worker and the family.

See also

References

  1. ^ Goodin, Robert E.; Rice, James Mahmud; Bittman, Michael; & Saunders, Peter. (2005). "The time-pressure illusion: Discretionary time vs free time". Social Indicators Research 73 (1), 43–70. (PDF file)
  2. ^ Situationist International #9 (1964) "Questionnaire, section 12"
  3. ^ The "u" first appeared in the early sixteenth century, probably by analogy with words such as pleasure.[1]
  4. ^ Neulinger, John. 1981. The Psychology of Leisure. 2nd Ed. C.C. Thomas. ISBN 0398044929
  5. ^ Farb, Peter (1968). Man's Rise to Civilization As Shown by the Indians of North America from Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State. New York City: E. P. Dutton. pp. 28. LCC E77.F36. "Most people assume that the members of the Shoshone band worked ceaselessly in an unremitting search for sustenance. Such a dramatic picture might appear confirmed by an erroneous theory almost everyone recalls from schooldays: A high culture emerges only when the people have the leisure to build pyramids or to create art. The fact is that high civilization is hectic, and that primitive hunters and collectors of wild food, like the Shoshone, are among the most leisured people on earth." 

Further reading

  • Peter Borsay, A History of Leisure: The British Experience since 1500, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, ISBN 0333930827
  • Cross, Gary S. 2004. Encyclopedia of recreation and leisure in America. The Scribner American civilization series. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  • Harris, David. 2005. Key concepts in leisure studies. London: Sage. ISBN 0761970576.
  • Jenkins, John M., and J. J. J. Pigram. 2003. Encyclopedia of leisure and outdoor recreation. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415252261.
  • Rojek, Chris, Susan M. Shaw, and A.J. Veal (Eds.) (2006) A Handbook of Leisure Studies. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 139781403902788.
  • Stebbins, Robert A. 2007. Serious leisure: A perspective for our time. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. ISBN 0765803631.

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Leisure
by William Henry Davies
Information about this edition

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1940, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


Simple English

Leisure (or free time) is when a person can choose what to do. During a person's leisure time, they do not have an obligation to be at school or work at a job. During leisure time, people can do fun activities, family activities, or other non-work activity, such as hobbies.

Common forms of recreation or leisure are:

A vacation or holiday is the setting aside of time specifically for leisure. During their vacation, some people travel to a different region or country, and stay at a hotel so that they can do things they could not do near home. Other people prefer to spend their vacation time at home in their own community.

In wealthy industrialized countries such as the US, Canada, and Britain, workers are allowed to stay home on the weekend (usually Saturday and Sunday), and use it as leisure time. People in poorer developing countries usually have less leisure time, as they have to work longer hours and more days per year.








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