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Title: Leisure  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Sabbath, International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities, Recreation, Biblical Sabbath, Leisure
Collection: Health, Leisure, Quality of Life
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Public parks were initially set aside for recreation and leisure and sport

Leisure, or free time, is time spent away from business, work, domestic chores, and education. It also excludes time spent on necessary activities such as eating and sleeping.

The distinction between leisure and unavoidable activities is not a rigidly defined one, e.g. people sometimes do work-oriented tasks for pleasure as well as for long-term utility.[1] A distinction may also be drawn between free time and leisure. For example, Situationist International maintains that free time is illusory and rarely free; economic and social forces appropriate free time from the individual and sell it back to them as the commodity known as "leisure".[2] Certainly most people's leisure activities are not a completely free choice, and may be constrained by social pressures, e.g. people may be coerced into spending time gardening by the need to keep up with the standard of neighbouring gardens.

A related concept is that of social leisure, which involves leisurely activities in a social settings, such as extracurricular activities, e.g. sports, clubs.

Leisure studies and sociology of leisure are the academic disciplines concerned with the study and analysis of leisure.


  • Cultural differences 1
  • Adolescents 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Cultural differences

Men relaxing in a cafe overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv, Israel.
GI Card Game, Watercolor by James Pollock, U. S. Army Vietnam Combat Artists Team IV (CAT IV 1967). During the Vietnam War soldiers waiting to go on patrol would sometimes spend their leisure time playing cards. Courtesy National Museum of the United States Army.

Time available 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.[3]

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.

Men generally have more leisure time than women. In Europe and the United States, grown up men usually have between one and nine hours more leisure time than women do each week.[4]


Free time has potential for youth development, which is influenced by parental attitudes of interest and control, mediated by adolescent motivational style.[5]

See also


  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. (, "Time pressure" (PDF))
  2. ^ Situationist International #9 (1964) "Questionnaire, section 12"
  3. ^  
  4. ^ OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Society at a Glance 2009: OE.  See image at
  5. ^ Erin Hiley Sharp, Linda L. Caldwell, John W. Graham and Ty A. Ridenour: Individual Motivation and Parental Influence on Adolescents’ Experiences of Interest in Free Time: A Longitudinal Examination, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Volume 35, Number 3, pp. 340-353, 2006, doi:10.1007/s10964-006-9045-6

Further reading

  • Borsay, Peter. 2006. A History of Leisure: The British Experience since 1500, Palgrave Macmillan,.
  • 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.
  • Hunnicutt, Benjamin Kline. 2013. Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Jenkins, John M., and J.J.J. Pigram. 2003. Encyclopedia of leisure and outdoor recreation. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25226-1.
  • Poser, Stefan: Freizeit und Technik, European History Online, Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: 1st of March, 2013.
  • Poser, Stefan: Leisure Time and Technology, European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: October 25, 2011.
  • Rojek, Chris, Susan M. Shaw, and A.J. Veal (Eds.) (2006) A Handbook of Leisure Studies. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

External links

  • Peter Burke, The invention of leisure in early modern Europe, Past & Present, February 1995
  • The Development of Leisure Amongst the Social Classes During the Industrial Revolution
  • The Serious Leisure Perspective
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