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Palgrave Macmillan

The Serious Leisure Perspective

A Synthesis

  • Textbook
  • © 2020


  • The author is the founder of this theory, there is no-one better to write this book
  • It is applicable to a range of fields; sociology, psychology, tourism & leisure studies; events management
  • Winner of the 2022 Leisure Studies Association Book Award

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About this book


The Serious Leisure Perspective (SLP) is a theoretic framework developed by Robert A.  Stebbins in 1973, that brings together three main forms of leisure known as serious leisure, casual leisure, and project-based leisure. The SLP has evolved considerably since 1973, and this textbook provides a synthesis of the many concepts and propositions, as well as the data supporting them. In this overview, Stebbins organizes the entire framework along conceptual lines, with careful attention to level of empirical support and validation of each concept, presenting an up-to-date version of the SLP that allows interested students and researchers of social psychology, sociology, and leisure studies, to pinpoint exact elements of the theory, the empirical base and its application. 

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Table of contents (10 chapters)

  1. Micro Level

  2. Meso Level

  3. Macro Level

  4. Theory and Practice


“Stebbins Synthesis of SLP is an original contribution to knowledge as no other author as attempted a synthesis of this theory across the abundance of works and multiple fields. … The text would be most suitable for both postgraduate and research students in the leisure space as well as academics and researchers with an interest in leisure studies and the SLP.” (Stewart Alford, Leisure Studies, May 20, 2021)

“Robert Stebbins contribution to our understanding of leisure has been immeasurable. This book offers a contemporary synthesis of the key ideas, concepts and contexts that have underpinned this contribution, and as such, it has become the first book that anyone interested in the Serious Leisure Perspective should look to.” — Ian Jones, Associate Professor, Bournemouth University, UK

“Robert Stebbins pioneered the Serious Leisure Perspective. His original writing on the conceptualisation of serious leisure and the body of work he has contributed has inspired numerous researchers to critically examine and seek to understand this phenomenon and its application. In this volume Stebbins has synthesised decades of theorising and empirical research in a comprehensive and accessible manner. It will serve as an invaluable resource for the next generation of leisure researchers and students.” — Graham Cuskelly, Professor, Griffith University, Australia

“The Serious Leisure Perspective (SLP) is a paramount theory in leisure services/studies. This book explains the SLP with depth, breadth, clarity, precision, accuracy, and with great logical order. It is the most important book written on the most important theory in leisure services/studies.” — Rodney B. Dieser, Professor, University of Northern Iowa, USA 

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

    Robert A. Stebbins

About the author

Robert A. Stebbins, FRSC, is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary, Canada.   

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Serious Leisure Perspective

  • Book Subtitle: A Synthesis

  • Authors: Robert A. Stebbins

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-48035-6Published: 26 July 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-48036-3Published: 25 July 2020

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 229

  • Number of Illustrations: 4 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Sociology, general, Sociology of Culture, Social Theory, Positive Psychology

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