A Perspective for Our Time
Serious Leisure offers a comprehensive view and analysis of the current state of the sociology of leisure. Defining and differentiating the way people use their free time, Robert A. Stebbins divides such activity into categories of serious (skilled), casual (unskilled), and project-based (short-term) leisure that he further separates into a variety of types and subtypes. Together they comprise what he calls the “serious leisure perspective.” Stebbins sets out the basic concepts that make up the three leisure forms, focusing on their essential elements.
Stebbins sees “serious leisure” realized by way of a set of foundational concepts—organization, community, history, lifestyle, and culture. He reviews the history and background of the concept of serious leisure and follows up with historical commentary. Finally, he examines the future and the importance of the serious leisure perspective in a globalizing world, and some of its critical links with other fields of knowledge and practice, notably the nonprofit sector and preventive medicine.
Serious Leisure is a coherent and comprehensive resource setting out the main parameters of what is now widely recognized as an interdisciplinary research area. It will be of interest to sociologists, labor studies specialists, and economists.
“A concise introduction to the concept of serious leisure, supported by the most current research and sprinkled with citations to guide the reader to more detailed accounts. . . . [This] book then, taken as a primer on serious leisure, will stimulate interest in this woefully neglected area.”
—Derek Christopher Martin, Contemporary Sociology
“A renowned author in the field of leisure, having written more than 25 books on the subject, Stebbins (sociology, Univ. of Calgary) promises to offer a comprehensive view and analysis of scholarship in the sociology of sport. The author defines serious leisure as the systematic pursuit of an activity—as amateur, hobbyist, or volunteer—that is extremely interesting for the participant. Serious leisure requires special skills, knowledge, and experience. Stebbins describes casual leisure as immediately and intrinsically rewarding but short-lived, needing little or no special training. Finally, project-based leisure is a short-term task that is complicated. Stebbins takes up such issues as class, gender, youth, and disabilities and such concepts as obligation, values, and selfishness. He draws most of his evidence from Canadian examples and his own exhaustive research.”
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Table of Contents
1. The Serious Leisure Perspective
2. Recent Research on Serious Leisure
3. Casual and Project-Based Leisure: The Basics
4. Synthesizing the Forms
5. Extending the Perspective
6. History of the Perspective
7. Importance of the Perspective