The Meaning of Leisure

  • Vania L. SandovalEmail author
Part of the Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series (LSGE)


This chapter deals with the concept of leisure. It shows how the conceptualization of leisure is a multidimensional process: an interplay between ideal leisure and experienced leisure. The chapter shows which criteria the women use to define leisure as ideal or “only” as leisure experienced in everyday life. For the latter, it is shown how certain experiences are not easy to define because boundaries between leisure and nonleisure are not always identifiable—for example, in the case of social obligations. The need to analyze the interplay between the two dimensions and their consequences for practices is emphasized.


  1. Adorno, Theodor W. 1991. Free Time. In The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, ed. Theodor W. Adorno and J.M. Bernstein, 162–170. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn. 2011. Feminist Phenomenology and the Woman in the Running Body. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 5 (3): 297–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, 1. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  4. Badischer Sportbund. 2014. Mitgliederstatistik. Accessed October 6, 2014.
  5. Bauman, Zygmunt. 2009. Leben als Konsum. 1 Aufl. Hamburg: Hamburger Ed.Google Scholar
  6. Bernard, Harvey R. 2006. Research Methods in Anthropology. 4th ed. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bojorqyez-Chapela, Ietza, Claudia Unikel, Maria-Eugenia Mendoza, and Fabiola de Lachica. 2014. Another Body Project: The Thin Ideal, Motherhood, and Body Dissatisfaction Among Mexican Women. Journal of Health & Psychology 19: 1120–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. 2010th edition. Translated by Richard Nice, with a new introduction by Tony Bennett. London/New York: Harvard University Press/Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Brosius, Christiane. 2010. India’s Middle Class: New Forms of Urban Leisure, Consumption and Prosperity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Carmichael, Fiona, Joanne Duberley, and Isabelle Szmiging. 2015. Older Women and Their Participation in Exercise and Leisure-Time Physical Activity: The Double Edged Sword of Work. Sport in Society 18 (1): 42–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chavez, Deborah. 2000. Invite, Include and Involve!: Racial Groups, Ethnic Groups and Leisure. In Diversity and the Recreation Profession: Organizational Perspectives, ed. M.T. Allison and I.E. Schneider, 179–191. State College, PA: Venture Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Cortis, Natasha, Pooja Sawrikar, and Kristy Muir. 2008. Final Report: Participation in Sport and Recreation by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women.Google Scholar
  13. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. 1991. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HarperPerennial.Google Scholar
  14. Demontrond, Pascale, and Patrick Gaudreau. 2008. Le concept de “flow” ou “etat psychologique optimal”: etat de la question appliquee au sport. Staps 79 (1): 9–21. De Boeck Universite.Google Scholar
  15. Dobler, Gregor. 2014. Muße und Arbeit. In Muße im kulturellen Wandel: Semantisierungen, Ähnlichkeiten, Umbesetzungen, 54–68. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  16. Dumazedier, Joffre. 1967. Toward a Society of Leisure. New York; London: Collier-Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Fastenmeier, Wolfgang, Herbert Gstalter, and Ulf Lehnig. 2003. Was empfinden Menschen als Freizeit? – Emotionale Bedeutung und Definition. In Motive und Handlungsansätze im Freizeitverkehr: Mit 17 Tabellen, 13–29. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Figal, Guenther. 2014. Musse als Forschungsgegenstand. La Villa.Google Scholar
  19. Fisher, Mary James, Lisbeth Berbary, and Katie Misener. 2017. Narratives of Negotiation and Transformation: Women’s Experiences Within a Mixed-Gender Gym. Leisure Sciences 0 (0): 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Foley, Carmel. 2017. The Art of Wasting Time: Sociability, Friendship, Community and Holidays. Leisure Studies 1 (36): 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. de Freitas, C.R. 2015. Weather and Place-Based Human Behavior: Recreational Preferences and Sensitivity. International Journal of Biometeorology 59: 55–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frye, Nancy. 2016. “Let’s Do What Together?!” Shared Activity Perceptions and Relationship Closeness. Leisure Sciences 0: 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fuller, Chris. 2011. Timepass and Boredom in Modern India. Anthropology of This Century, 1. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  24. Gans, Herbert J. 1999. Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of Taste. Rev. and updated ed. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  25. Gerhards, Juergen. 2008. Die kulturell dominierende Klasse in Europa: Eine vergleichende Analyse der 27 Mitgliedsländer der Europaeischen Union im Anschluss an die Theorie von Pierre Bourdieu. Kölner Zeitschrift fuer Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 4: 723–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Giddens, Anthony. 1991. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford; CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Granger, Christophe. 2014. Children of the Otium. How the French Got Leisured (since 1900). In Muße im kulturellen Wandel: Semantisierungen, Ähnlichkeiten, Umbesetzungen, 279–303. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  28. de Grazia, Sebastian. 1972. Der Begriff der Muße. In Soziologie der Freizeit, ed. Erwin K. Scheuch and Rolf Meyersohn, 56–73. Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch.Google Scholar
  29. Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2013. Death and the Migrant: Bodies, Borders and Care. London; New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  30. Hancock, P.A., and G.M. Hancock. 2014. The Effects of Age, Sex, Body Temperature, Heart Rate, and Time of Day on the Perception of Time in Life. Time & Society 23 (2): 195–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Harman, Lesley D. 1988, c1987. The Modern Stranger: On Language and Membership. Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Harring, Marius. 2010. Das Potenzial der Freizeit: Soziales, kulturelles und ökonomisches Kapital im Kontext der Freitzeitwelt Jugendlicher. 1 Aufl. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  33. Hudson, Simon, Gordon Walker, Bonnie Simpson, and Tom Hinch. 2013. The Influence of Ethnicity and Self-Construal on Leisure Constraints. Leisure Sciences 35: 145–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Huizinga, J. 1940. Homo Ludens: Versuch einer Bestimmung des Spielelementes der Kultur. 3rd ed. Basel; Bruessel; Köln; Berlin: Akademische Verlagsanstalt Pantheon Verlag fuer Geschichte und Politik.Google Scholar
  35. Iso-Ahola, Seppo E. 2015. Conscious Versus Nonconscious Mind and Leisure. Leisure Sciences 37 (4): 289–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Katz-Gerro, Tally, and Mads Meier Jaeger. 2015. Does Women’s Preference for Highbrow Leisure Begin in the Family? Comparing Leisure Participation Among Brothers and Sisters. Leisure Sciences 37 (5): 415–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Klein, Thomas. 2009. Determinanten der Sportaktivität und der Sportart im Lebenslauf. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 61: 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kovac, Laura, and Dawn Trussell. 2015. “Classy and Never Trashy”: Young Women’s Experiences of Nightclubs and the Construction of Gender and Sexuality. Leisure Sciences 37: 195–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mannell, Roger C. 2014. Leisure in the Laboratory and Other Strange Notions: Psychological Research on the Subjective Nature of Leisure. In Contemporary Perspectives in Leisure: Meanings, Motives and Lifelong Learning, ed. Sam Elkington and Sean Gammon, 3–17. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Nadel-Klein, Jane. 2010. Cultivating Taste and Class in the Garden. In Mutuality and Empathy: Self and Other in the Ethnographic Encounter, vol. 5, 107–121. Wantage: S. Kingston Pub.Google Scholar
  41. Opaschowski, Horst W. 1996. Pädagogik der freien Lebenszeit. 3, völlig neu bearb. Aufl Bd. 1. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.Google Scholar
  42. Peterson, Richard, and Roger Kern. 1996. Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to Omnivore. American Sociological Review 61 (5): 900–907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Qian, Xinyi L., Careen Yarnal, and David Almeida. 2014. Using the Dynamic Model of Affect (DMA) to Examine Leisure Time as a Stress Coping Resource: Taking into Account Stress Severity and Gender Difference. Journal of Leisure Research 46 (4): 483–505.Google Scholar
  44. Rastetter, Daniela. 1998. Freizeit braucht freie Zeit: Oder: Wie Maenner es schaffen, Frauen die (Frei-)Zeit zu stehlen. In Freizeit in der Erlebnisgesellschaft: Amüsement zwischen Selbstverwirklichung und Kommerz, ed. Hans A. Hartmann, 2 Aufl., 45–66. Opladen: Westdt. Verl.Google Scholar
  45. Reisch, Lucia A. 2001. Time and Wealth: The Role of Time and Temporalities for Sustainable Patterns of Consumption. Time Society 10: 367–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Richter, Rudolf. 2005. Die Lebensstilgesellschaft. 1 Aufl. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  47. Scheuch, Erwin K. 1972. Die Problematik der Freizeit in der Massengesellschaft. In Soziologie der Freizeit, ed. Erwin K. Scheuch and Rolf Meyersohn, 23–41. Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch.Google Scholar
  48. Schor, Juliet. 1991. The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  49. Schulze, Gerhard. 2005[1992]. Die Erlebnisgesellschaft: Kultursoziologie der Gegenwart. 2 Aufl. Frankfurt [Main]; New York: Campus.Google Scholar
  50. Segura, Denise. 1997. Chicanas in White-Collar Jobs: “You Have to Prove Yourself More”. In Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Lives, 292–310. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Sikes, Michelle, and Grant Jarvie. 2014. Women’s Running as Freedom: Development and Choice. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics 17 (4): 507–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Spracklen, Karl. 2013. Whiteness and Leisure. Leisure Studies in a Global Era. New York; London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  53. Stebbins, Robert A. 2014. Leisure, Happiness and Positive Lifestyle. In Contemporary Perspectives in Leisure: Meanings, Motives and Lifelong Learning, ed. Sam Elkington and Sean Gammon, 28–38. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. Stengel, Martin. 1998. Freizeit als Restkategorie: Das Dilemma einer eigenstaendigen Freizeitforschung. In Freizeit in der Erlebnisgesellschaft: Amüsement zwischen Selbstverwirklichung und Kommerz, ed. Hans A. Hartmann, 2 Aufl., 19–44. Opladen: Westdt. Verl.Google Scholar
  55. Turner, Victor W. 1982. From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play. Vol. 1. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications.Google Scholar
  56. Veal, Anthony J. 1987. Leisure and the Future, 4. London; Boston: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  57. Veblen, Thorstein. 1924. The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. 8th ed. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  58. Walseth, Kristin. 2015. Sport within Muslim Organizations in Norway: Ethnic Segregated Activities as Arena for Integration. Leisure Studies 35: 1–20. doi: 10.1080/02614367.2015.1055293.Google Scholar
  59. Wearing, Betsy. 1998. Leisure and Feminist Theory. London; Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. WeltN24. 2013. Gericht Erlaubt Kopftuchverbot im Fitnesstudio. Accessed December 16, 2015.
  61. Whillans, Jennifer. 2014. The Weekend: The Friend and Foe of Independent Singles. Leisure Studies 33 (2): 185–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MannheimGermany

Personalised recommendations