Contribution of Different Disciplines to Leisure and Tourism Studies

Leisure and tourism studies are characterized by a diversity of approaches which come from different disciplines and use a variety of methods. As a result, studies often use an inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on different frames of reference and different methodological approaches for conducting studies. To this end, researchers involved in doing research projects should take into consideration the research questions they want to answer based on the purpose of the research, such as whether to do a research study to build on the academic store of knowledge or to do a study for a professional client or business organization that is interested in research for marketing purposes. A researcher might regard these different approaches like a tool-kit which he or she can draw on, as appropriate, for doing a study on a particular topic for a particular purpose.

The different disciplines which have different approaches include these:

– the sociological approach, which has provided much of the foundation for leisure research, though much less for tourism studies. The sociological approach involves three major thrusts. One is doing social surveys, some of which is done for pragmatic reasons, and this is considered social research rather than truly academically-oriented sociological research. Such surveys involve a quantitative approach, based on using statistics and mathematical models of human behavior to make predictions about human behavior. This is sometimes called the “surveys and modeling approach.” A second sociological approach seeks to explain why people behave as they do in choosing the leisure activities they engage in; it is designed to look at the meaning of leisure participation or non-participation to different groups of people. One such approach to discovering meaning is the existential and symbolic interaction approach, which considers the way people negotiate their leisure participation in light of their relationships of different types – from personal and social relationships to their relationships with their community and networks at work. Finally, a third sociological approach is the critical approach which has taken various forms. One is the neo-Marxist approach which has looked at the way in which individuals can act freely and the degree to which they are constrained and influenced by the structure of their society. A key aspect of this approach has been criticizing the capitalist system for exploiting or manipulating people within the system who have little power. Numerous streams of critical theory have influenced this perspective over the last few decades, including the feminist perspective that has looked at the way women have responded to leisure in light of their lesser power in society. Some other critical approaches have included postmodernism, which has explored the role of electronic communications and the cultural artifacts produced by it. It has been especially interested in the content of these expressions of culture rather than in the behavior of the people creating those cultural artifacts.

– the geographic approach, which have been especially interested in the way spaces and landscapes affect people’s behavior and their perception of those spaces and landscapes, especially in making choices about their travel behavior. Geographers also look at the way people use different kinds of leisure facilities, such as national parks, gardens, playgrounds, and sports facilities.

– the economic approach, which looks at the economic valuation of different kinds of recreational and leisure facilities, such as outdoor recreation areas and arts facilities. One way researchers using the economic approach have measured results is by doing a cost-benefits analysis to examine the costs and benefits of particular facilities and programs to the public. Then, too, these researchers have examined the way pricing different leisure activities has affected demand, and the researchers have done demand forecasting studies in tourism to examine how much consumers are likely to spend on leisure activities in a particular location.

– the psychology/social psychology approach, which looks at the satisfactions people obtain from their leisure, their motivations leading them to participate in a particular form of leisure, how their relationships with others influences their participation, and how their perceptions affect their involvement in leisure activities. In particular, these researchers do research in four main areas: motivation and needs, satisfactions, the leisure state of mind, and the way personal characteristics, such as gender, age, culture, and personality affect leisure participation. They typically use self-completion questionnaires to survey subjects, such as tourists and students.

– the historical approach, which looks at historical trends in leisure and tourism, particularly in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

– the anthropological approach, which has primarily looked at the effect of tourism on indigenous cultures.

– the political science approach, which involves examining the politics of making decisions about leisure activities in a particular locale. This approach has also considered the way tourism affects political behavior.

Race, Ethnicity, and Participation in Leisure Activities

In “Gender and Leisure” by Susan Shaw and “Ethnicity, Race, and Leisure” by James H. Gramann and Maria T. Allison, the authors describe major ways in which race, ethnicity, and gender influence access and participation in recreation and leisure.

While distinctions of gender are fairly clear in examining the differences between males and females, despite the emergence of a transgendered community, a key difficulty in assessing the impact of race and ethnicity is the way these are defined. That’s because of a growing multicultural society in the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and Canada, which are blurring traditional and ethnic distinctions. But, putting those difficulties aside, this article first discusses the influence of gender and then of race and ethnicity.

As Shaw points out, there are three main ways in which gender has influenced leisure – in terms of activity participation, the gendered nature of leisure constraints, and through gendered outcomes of leisure. The activity approach has shown that a number of activities are stereotyped according to gender, and that there have been differences in “opportunities, experiences, and a time for leisure.” For example, as can be readily observed by anyone who goes to a sports event or visits museums, art galleries, and public lectures, as confirmed by the research, there is a greater participation by men in “sports and physical activities” and by women in “arts and cultural activities.” Then, too, there is a gendered nature to passive leisure, which affects the books, magazines, and film men and women read and view, as well as the hobbies and crafts they participate in. While Shaw notes that little research has examined these differences, these distinctions based on gender can readily be seen in the way marketers target certain types of books, such as those on self-help and relationships to women, and those on sports and business to men. Similarly, films dealing with romance and relationships are targeted to women, and films featuring adventure and action to men.

Also, confirming what has been obvious to the general public, in modern industrialized societies, men have generally had more time to participate in leisure activities, because of what sociologist Arlie Hochschild, who I studied with at U.C. Berkeley, calls the “second shift.” This is because working and married women have generally taken on most of the household and childcare chores at home, so they not only have participated in the paid workforce, but when they come home, they work again. Meanwhile, since they have been less engaged than women in the household, the men get to enjoy additional leisure time, thanks to their women partners.

However, these studies cited by Shaw about women having less leisure time were done in the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years, this distinction between the leisure time for men and women seems to be changing, according to the popular media, in that men are more increasingly involved in splitting up the housework and parenting. This shift is even reflected in the popular media, where the men end up with the kids and learn to enjoy being dads, such as Once Fallen. At the same time, successful women workers are hiring nannies to do the housework and care for their kids and even hiring surrogates to birth them.

As for constraints, these differently affect the opportunities men and women have for leisure. For example, the 1980s and 1990s research cited has shown that women are more constrained than men because of household obligations and family commitments, and because they feel a social obligation due to the “ethic of care,” whereby women may feel an obligation to care for others, so they feel less free to enjoy leisure for themselves. Then, too, women may feel constrained from participating in certain types of activities, because of their fear of violence (such as in boxing and wrestling) or their concern with their body image (such as in swimming), while men may resist participating in activities that seem too feminine and threaten their masculinity (such as ballet).

When it comes to race and ethnicity, it is more complicated to measure either participation or constraints, because of the problems in classifying people by race or ethnicity. These classification problems have occurred because of ethnic and racial diversity and multiculturalism, so the old census racial classifications are breaking down, as pointed out by Gramann and Allison. But those complications aside, much of the research has focused on the different ways that different ethnic and racial groups participate in outdoor recreation, and the results have indicated that Whites tend to participate more in these activities than minority group members. While one reason that many minority group members don’t participate is due to their marginal position in society, whereby they have a lower income and can’t afford to participate, have poor transportation, or fear discrimination, another factor may be cultural differences. Certainly, marginality could be a factor for those with limited incomes, when they have to pay substantial amounts to participate in leisure activities that are mostly participated in by Whites, such as going to dinners in expensive restaurants or paying entry fees for theater and other cultural events.

But another key factor, apart from income and social class is that the members of racial and ethnic groups may have their own “culturally based value system, norms, and leisure socialization patterns,” so they have different interests. An example of this can be seen in areas of ethnic concentration, such as Oakland, where there is a Chinatown in the downtown area, African-American areas in Western and East Oakland, and Latin-American areas in the Fruitvale district. In each area, there are different types of activities that appeal to those in the ethnic groups in the area, such as the dragon boat races of the Chinese, the Kwanza celebration of the African-Americans, and the Day of the Dead celebration of Mexican-Americans. Also, members of the different groups may like reading books and magazines as well as viewing films that feature their own racial or cultural group, whereas Whites are less likely to be interested in these culturally-based types of entertainment. As Gramann and Allison point out, such racially and ethnic based choices of leisure may occur because they are “expressions of culture” or they may be an indication of “selective acculturation”. Then too, these culturally-based forms of leisure could be examples of “ethnic boundary maintenance,” whereby individuals chose to engage in certain activities to highlight their ethnic differences, such as when Native Americans have pow-wows around the country to celebrate their tribal identities.

Constraints on Participating in Leisure

In “Constraints to Leisure,” Edgar L. Jackson and David Scott provide an overview of the field of leisure constraints research as of the late 1990s. They point out that originally researchers in the field studies what was then called “barriers to recreation participation,” but the word “barriers” refers to what is now considered only one type of constraint – something that intervenes or prevents one from participating in an activity. But now other kinds of constraints are recognized, including one’s interpersonal and intrapersonal influences, which lead one not to take part in leisure. In additional, Jackson and Scott explain that the word “leisure” is used rather than just recreation, since it is a more inclusive term, and the word “participation” was also dropped, since leisure research doesn’t only involve whether a persona participates, but what they prefer to do, where, and what a particular type of leisure means to them.

Jackson and Scott also discuss the three major ways of looking at leisure that have evolved since the leisure constraints approach began in the 19th century. It began with considerations of “barriers to recreation participation and leisure enjoyment” based on the assumption that the main issue to address was service delivery, so that people would participate more if there were more services provided.

Then, starting in the 1960s, the focus shifted to looking at how particular barriers might affect the participation by individuals with different economic and social characteristics. Later, in the 1980s, the notion of constraints emerged, and the researchers realized that these constraints might not only be external, such as in the form of a facility or service, but could be internal, such as a constraint due to psychological and economic factors, or to social or interpersonal factors, such as a person’s relationships with his or her spouse or family.

Since the late 1980s, it would seem that three major concepts about the constraints affecting involvement in leisure activities have emerged, as described in a model proposed by Crawford and Godbey in 1987.

1) The structural or intervening constraint is one which affects someone from participating in some type of leisure, once the person already has indicated a preference for or desire to participate. As conceptualized by Crawford and Godbey, these structural or intervening constraints are “those factors that intervene between leisure preference and participation.” (p. 307). Research based on this conception of a constraint generally involves doing a survey to identify the particular items standing in the way of participation, such as time, costs, facilities, knowledge of the service or facility, lack of a partner for participation (such as a partner to participate in a doubles tennis match), and a lack of skills or a disability. The assumption underlying this approach is that a person would participate in any activity if not for these constraints, which seem much like the barriers conceived of when that term was in use. In looking for patterns and commonalities, using various quantitative methods such as factor analysis and cluster analysis, researchers found support for certain common structural and intervening constraints, most notably: “time commitments, costs, facilities and opportunities, skills and abilities, and transportation and access.” Additionally, the researchers sought to look at how different groups in society were constrained in different ways, such as women, or groups based on age and income, eventually leading researchers to recognize that most constraints are experienced to a greater or lesser degree depending on personal and situational factors.

2) An intrapersonal constraint is a psychological state or characteristic which affects leisure preferences, rather than acting as a barrier to participation once a person has already developed those preferences. For example, intrapersonal constraints which might lead a person not to develop particular leisure preferences might be that person’s “abilities, personality needs, prior socialization, and perceived reference group attitudes.”

3) An interpersonal constraint is one which occurs due to one’s interaction with one’s peers, family members, and others, leading one to think of certain leisure activities, places, or services as relevant or not relevant leisure activities to participate in. For instance, based on one’s understandings from interacting with others one might consider certain types of leisure to be inappropriate, uninteresting, or unavailable.

Although a hierarchical model was proposed by D.W. Crawford, E. L. Jackson, an G. Godbey to combine these three concepts into a single model, based on one first forming leisure preferences on the intrapersonal level, then encountering constraints on the interpersonal level, and finally encountering structural or intervening constraints, it would seem there is no such sequential ordering of these constraints. Rather they seem to act together in varying ways and orders, though Henderson and other researchers have sought to combine intrapersonal and interpersonal constraints together to become antecedent constraints.

Whether such antecedents constraints exist or not, another way to look at whether people participate in a leisure experience based on the way they respond to a perceived constraint. If they participate and want to participate, that would be described as a “successful proactive response.” If they don’t participate though they would like to do so, that would be considered a “reactive response.” Finally, if they participate but in a different way, that would be called a “partly successful proactive response.”

A good illustration of this response to a constraint approach might be a mountain climber who suffers a disability. The climber who gets a prosthetic and climbs the mountain himself might be considered to be showing a “successful proactive response.” The climber who decides to abandon the sport might be considered to be showing a “reactive response.” Finally the climber who is helped to climb the mountain by a team of other climbers might be considered to be engaging in a “partly successful proactive response.”

These ideas about constraints might be applied to how individuals get involved with some of the activities I have organized through several Meetup groups I run. These include an occasional Video Potluck Night, where people come to my house to see videos which I get at Blockbuster; feedback/discussion groups for indie film producers and directors, which might be considered a form of leisure, since most attendees are producing and directing films during their leisure time, often for free, and they have other paying jobs; and several teleseminars on writing, publishing, and promoting books, which is also more of a hobby for participants, since they hope to get books published, but have other jobs.

Structurally, some individuals who might attend these Meetup groups may be constrained because of the common structural problems that have been identified, including time commitments, costs, facilities and opportunities, skills and abilities, and transportation and access. Some people can’t attend any of these activities, because they have another event to go to at that time or they may have extra work to do, so they can’t spare the time to attend. Though there is no cost for the meetings, some people may be constrained by the cost of getting to my house, including the gas and toll from San Francisco, Marin, or the Peninsula, and the cost of contributing something to the potluck (which many people have to buy because they don’t have the time to make something).

Another constraint is that some people may be uncomfortable about going to an event in a private house. Some may not attend the discussion groups or teleseminars, because they feel their skills are not yet up to par, although they hope someday to become a produce and director or finish their book. Some may not attend because they have problems with access, since they have trouble getting to my house if they don’t have a car, because they have problems getting there by bus or BART (which are 1-3 miles from my house respectively), and they can’t get a ride. And if someone has a serious disability, they will have trouble getting into my house, which is not wheelchair accessible.

The intrapersonal constraint may come into play when some people decide not to come because they feel uncomfortable in large groups or meeting new people, such as to the Video Potlucks, since these not only involve socializing before the film over dinner but then sharing during introductions and in a discussion of the film after the showing. Others may not come because they fear opening up and showing the work they have done since they fear criticism.

The interpersonal constraint may occur when some people decide not to come because their friends or family may be doing something else or their peers may put down going to the activity. For example, their peers may be interesting in attending and discussing first run films in theaters, whereas my video potluck nights feature films on DVD from Blockbuster that come out about three months later than a theatrical release. Or their peers may discourage them from attending a director or producer discussion group, since they will be discussing their work with others who are similarly trying to break into the industry or producing and directing small films as a hobby. Their peers may claim they should only go to programs where they will meet people who are already established in the industry or convince them they don’t need any more feedback, since their project is already very good.

Characteristics of Leisure

In “Motivational Foundations of Leisure” by Seppo E. Iso-Ahola and “Pathways to Meaning-Making Through Leisure-Like Pursuits in Global Contexts” by Yoshitaka Iwasaki, both authors are grappling with distinguishing leisure from other aspects of human life. To this end, they are trying to describe the basic characteristics that identify something as leisure as opposed to something not being leisure. However, the big problem for both of them is the elusive definition of “what is leisure,” since it is difficult to describe its characteristics if it hard to distinguish leisure from what is not leisure. This problem is made even more difficult in modern society, in that there is something of a continuum between leisure and non-leisure, with many activities seeming like a mix of the two.

For example, a part-time entrepreneur who sets up a party-plan business is engaging in an economic activity, but it is also fun for her (usually the entrepreneur is a woman), and she might see organizing sales parties as a side venture to something she considers work. So maybe this business starts out as a leisure activity, but as she makes more and more money, she may spend more and more time putting on parties to build a serious business. Thus, at some point, holding these fun parties may cease to be a leisure activity – but exactly when this occurs can be hard to tell.

This same problem of distinguishing leisure and not-leisure confronts both Iso-Ahola and Iwasaki in trying to discuss the characteristics of leisure, in that many of these characteristics they use to describe leisure can be true of non-leisure activities, commonly considered work. Iwasaki tries to get around this problem by calling things that he characterizes as aspects of leisure as “leisure-like” activities, and by the same token, one might character what people normally call work as “work-like” activities, but this is really more of a semantic sleight of hand. Calling something “leisure-like” — or “work-like” for that matter — merely provides a nomenclature that is fuzzier to identify a part of human life that is hard to define. In other words, using a fuzzy term to define what is considered an elusive hard-to-define quality simply points up the fuzziness, but it does not help to clarify the basic characteristics of what is leisure as compared to other aspects of human life.

For example, in the “Motivational Foundations of Leisure,” Iso-Ahola seeks to find an explanation for what is leisure in the “basic innate (psychological) needs that are the main energizers of human growth and potential.” From his perspective, this need which everyone is born with both defines what people consider leisure and directs them to be involved under various conditions to satisfy those needs. Given this driving need for leisure, then, Iso-Ahola suggests that having a sense of freedom or autonomy is “the central defining characteristic of leisure”. However, he distinguishes this feeling of freedom from the everyday characterization of leisure as “free time”, which people use for describing the time when they are not working, since only some of this free time may truly be free from any obligations so someone can do exactly what they want to do.

For instance, if someone performs chores during this free time period, this time would not be truly free, although Iso-Ahola suggests that the more a person thinks of his work as an obligation, the more free that person would feel when he is engaged in nonwork activities, and therefore that activity might truly be considered leisure.

From this perspective, then, if a person truly enjoys their work and participates in a variety of activities that contribute to success at work, though these activities might otherwise be considered leisure for someone who engages in these activities for reasons that have nothing to do with their job, these activities might no longer be considered leisure. An example of this is the salesman or CEO for a company that plays golf with other potential customers. On the one hand, golf is normally regarded as a leisure-time recreational activity. But it has become part of the salesman’s or CEO’s work, even though the salesman or CEO may freely choose to play golf or not, or engage in an alternate form of entertainment with prospective clients, such as taking them to a show or ballgame. If that person plays golf, goes to a show, or is a spectator at a ball game with members of his family and no work buddies are present, that might be more properly characterized as leisure. But in many cases, the salesman/CEO might take the family along on a golfing, show, or ballgame excursion with his work buddies, thereby muddying the conception of leisure. Under the circumstances, using a continuum from non-leisure to leisure activities might be a good way to characterize different types of leisure, rather than trying to make a distinction between what is leisure and what is not-leisure.

In any event, building on this notion that freedom is a basic characteristic of leisure, Iso-Ahola suggests that leisure activity is characterized by behavior that is self-determined, or which may start off as determined, but can become self-determined by the process of “internalization” Therefore, to the extent that people perform everyday activities because they want to do so, they make them leisure-like. An example might be if I hate gardening (which I really do), but I start doing it because I can’t afford to hire a gardener, and eventually I start to feel joy in it, which would turn it into a leisure activity. (But since I can hire a gardener, I have no compelling reason to do this, so for now this is definitely not a leisure-time activity for me).

Then, too, according to Iso-Ahola, leisure might be characterized by escaping, which can contribute to internalizing an activity, which makes it even more a form of leisure.

Iso-Ahola brings together all of these ideas into a pyramid in which the greater one’s intrinsic motivation and sense of self-determination, the more one is engaging in true leisure outside of the work context. On the bottom is obligatory nonwork activity participation, such as chores one has to perform in the house. On the next level above this, he distinguishes free-time activity participation in TV and exercise, which he feels are usually not true leisure, since people are not truly autonomous in participating in either activity. He claims people lack autonomy in watching TV, because they don’t really want to do this and it doesn’t make them feel good about themselves (though this opinion of TV is questionable), and in the case of exercise, he claims that they feel they should do this because it’s good for them, rather than because they want to. Finally, at the top of the pyramid is full leisure participation, where one feels complete autonomy and freedom, so one gains intrinsic rewards, a feeling of flow, and social interaction with others.

Finally, to briefly cite Iwasaki’s approach to characterizing leisure, he seeks to describe leisure as a way of generating certain types of meanings, although the particular meanings may differ for people experiencing different life experiences or coming from different cultures. In Iwasaki’s view, citing the World Leisure Association’s description of leisure, meaningful leisure provides “opportunities for self-actualization and further contribution to the quality of community life.” As such, leisure includes self-determined behavior, showing competence, engaging in social relationships, having an opportunity for self-reflection and self-affirmation, developing one’s identity, and overcoming negative experiences in one’s life. Iwasaki also goes on to describe the five key factors which are aspects of leisure (which he prefers to call”leisure-like” pursuits: 1) positive emotions and well-being, 2) positive identities, self-esteem, and spirituality; 3) social and cultural connections and harmony, 4) human strengths and resilience, and 5) learning and human development across the lifespan.

The Difficulty of Distinguishing Work and Leisure Today

In “Work and Leisure” by Roger C. Mannell and Donald G. Reid, “Emergent Working Society of Leisure” by Neil Ravenscroft and Paul Gilchrist, and “Working at Fun” by Deborah Rapuano, the definition of work and leisure has undergone a transformation from the traditional separation of the two terms into combining the different spheres of activity in different ways. A key reason is that as society has changed, becoming a global economy and providing new sources of creative endeavors for some members of society, some individuals have been able to combine their work as an economic activity with intrinsically motivated work that provides the same kind of personal fulfillment that usually occurs in leisure activities.

An example of this combination of work and leisure is the “work” of artists, architects, and other creative professionals who gain personal satisfaction out of what they do, as described by Ravenscroft and Gilchrest. At the same time, other individuals who start out pursuing an activity as a leisure time pastime, such as some of the pub musicians described by Rapuano, may find what started out as a fun activity becomes a source of work as it is turned into a marketable commodity for which they receive pay.

Accordingly, while work and leisure can be two different aspects of life under some circumstances, they become intermingled and might become part of a continuum depending on how different individuals pursue a work-life balance. On the one hand, for some individuals, especially those at the lower economic stratum of society, work and leisure are generally separate, such as for a factory or farm worker, who has to work to make a living, and leisure for them is largely a non-work activity, devoted to activities with their families, social drinking with friends, participating in or watching sports, going to movies or musical gatherings, and enjoying other sorts of celebrations. While there might be small opportunities for leisure activities during the work-day, such as on short coffee or lunch breaks between shifts or listening to music while doing routine activities, generally employees, commonly called “workers” to highlight that they are considered workers in this role, engage in leisure time activities off the job.

Conversely, for professionals, knowledge workers, managers, company owners, and entrepreneurs, especially those who have attained a higher economic status, work and leisure become comingled, and many activities that might be considered leisure activities if they were not engaged in with others in the same profession, industry, or profession, have a work component. For example, a sales manager or company owner might go to a sales conference to improve his or her success in sales, but before, between, and after seminars, the individual might visit exhibits, participate in breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, and networking parties, and have drinks at a local nightclub with others at the conference that are both enjoyable and for business purposes. While part of the event is devoted to learning about techniques and strategies for improving one’s ability to work better and smarter, much of the event is devoted to having fun. Yet, even while having fun, one is engaging in these activities with business colleagues who might be a source of future business, so leisure is contributing to one’s success at work. As result, leisure becomes an independent variable as well as a dependent variable, which is shaped by the type of work the professionals, managers, company owners, and entrepreneurs are engaged in). However, since what is work and what is leisure at the conference are so intertwined, can they really be separated?

Mannell and Reid point to this difficulty of keeping work and leisure separate under changing times, requiring a new way of defining them. As they observe, the earliest research was based on considering work and leisure as separate spheres of life, so that researchers examined such things as the “changing allocations of time between work and leisure” or the trade-off people engaged in between earning money (at work) versus having more free time (in leisure). Also, researchers examined the relationship between leisure as an independent variable, and examined how the type of work people engaged in influenced their leisure activity. Some of their theories reflected this perspective, such as the spillover theory in which people engaged in leisure activities with characteristics “similar to their job-related activities and tasks,” such as the computer professional enjoying activities on the internet during their free time. Another of these theories is the compensation theory, in which a person is viewed as making up for their deprivations at work or seeking to satisfy needs not fulfilled in work by engaging in very different activities, such as when a sedentary worker goes on an adventure travel expedition for fun. Even the neutrality approach is based on the idea that work and leisure are two separate domains, in that people “compartmentalize their experiences of work and leisure.”

However, while Mannell and Reid illustrate how leisure and work was defined as different spheres by the earlier researchers, they illustrate how later researchers developed changing definitions in response to changes in society. As they conclude after describing a number of studies showing individual differences in the way people relate work and leisure in their lives:

“These types of findings suggest that people do differ according to the ways in which work and leisure are related and organized in their lives. There does not seem to be one dominant relationship between work and leisure, but rather a variety of possibilities that differ depending on immediate social and economic circumstances, and important individual differences in needs, attitudes, and personality that are likely the result of socialization influences.”

Mannell and Reid also make an important distinction between leisure just for fun and relaxation and “serious leisure”, which involves participating in pursuits that require developing skills and expressing a long-term career-like commitment. Though they discuss this type of leisure in the context of research on retirees, who find that engaging in more active and serious forms of leisure help them feel more positive about themselves and better cope with retirement, this distinction could apply to anyone who takes up a leisure activity seriously and may later turn it into a career. Two examples of this are the weekend painter who decides to become an artist or the player in a garage band who decides to go on the concert circuit and earn enough money to make a living with his music.

This idea of the merging of leisure and work is also expressed in the notion of a continuum of work and leisure practices discussed by Ravenscroft and Gilchrist, citing the work of Rojek in proposing the notion of civil labor which is based on the idea that the “separation of work from subsistence needs in Western societies has allowed people to develop suites of activities through which they can express their identities.” Building on Rojek’s ideas, Ravenscroft and Gilchrist propose that there has been the emergence of a “working society of leisure” in which leisure is comprised of self-determined work and through which people can gain a mix of “social, psychological and financial rewards.” Such a society, they contend, is illustrated by the creative workers they studied in Hastings in South East England, who chose to work at creative activities they loved, even though they might not make enough money to sustain themselves through that work, but found other ways to keep their creative activities going, from using savings, inheritances, or part-time work to support themselves.

This kind of blending of work and leisure is also shown in Rapuano’s description of some pub session musicians in Ireland and Chicago, who may be drawn into turning their music into work, because of market-driven, profit oriented incentives resulting in commercialized sessions. Though most of the musicians still participate for fun, some turn this into work, such as becoming session organizers and committing to play on a regular basis for a paying audience.

Thus, I would agree that under certain circumstances work and leisure can be considered two completely different aspects of life, such as when people dislike their work or clearly distinguish their activities as work, and they engage in other activities which they consider leisure non-work activities. On the other hand, for other people, work and leisure may blend together, such as for the creatives or professionals who gain their identity and fulfillment through their work. To a great extent, the distinction can be economically based, in that those on the lower socio-economic levels who hold lower status jobs may be more apt to think of their work in one sphere and their leisure in another, while those in higher income and higher status jobs have the luxury of choice, so they may select jobs which they really enjoy and find fulfillment.

Still, there are exceptions, such as the creatives who love what they do but don’t make much money at it such as the creatives described by Ravenscroft and Gilcrest, as well as actors, artists, and writers anywhere, who have difficulty making a living at what they do, but continue to do it for the love of their art.

However, apart from economic considerations, this distinction should be viewed from the perspective of the subjects and their way of defining leisure and work – a more phenomenological view. While structural patterns, such as economic conditions, may contribute to work and leisure being defined as separate domains of life or combined in some way as part of a continuum where the work-leisure balance shifts for different people based on their lifestyle and time devoted to work or leisure activities, the meaning of the activity engaged in is also important, since different individuals may define the activity in different ways. What may feel like work to one person (like the factory worker) may seem like leisure to another (such as the creative worker who feels totally fulfilled by what he or she is doing). Thus, it is important to combine both a structural and an intrinsic motivation approach in defining work and leisure.