An Academic Journal About Leisure Exists, and It’s Amazing
You know the old adage about academic journals: “If you can imagine it, it exists.” Oh wait no, that’s about Internet porn. But it is also true of any sub-sub-sub field of academia, and why yes, of course the journal Porn Studies exists. And on this Labor Day weekend, what more appropriate journal to read than Leisure Studies?
Published since 1982 by the Leisure Studies Association in the UK, Leisure Studies turns a scholarly eye to topics such as African-Americans vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard and people dawdling at Starbucks. And sports. Lots and lots of sports.
In honor of Labor Day, we’re pulling out some of our favorites studies of leisure. Peruse at, um, your leisure.
Influence of circadian rhythms on television viewers’ behaviour: is there a need for new programming?
Key lines from abstract: “We analysed epidemiologic data from public TV stations to interpret them in light of circadian/seasonal rhythms and their interaction with leisure behaviour with the goal of improving quality of life by using TV as a pure leisure activity. We found that TV programme schedules failed to synchronise with circadian rhythms. Problems with synchronisation were observed for all viewers and were significantly related to factors such as working behaviour and social activities. Future studies should focus on the circadian influence on TV watching as a leisure behaviour. We propose a newly defined schedule based on circadian influences.”
Takeaway? Maybe it’s a bad idea to watch Game of Thrones right before bed. Just maybe.
Key lines from abstract: “This research critically examines ways in which highly popular yet relatively under theorised leisure experiences inform and are informed by the social and political governance of our everyday lives. Specifically, online social networking, as seen through Facebook, actively produces leisure spaces, even if these spaces are primarily constituted through their discursive dimensions. By introducing the critical lenses of Marx’s notion of immaterial labour and Foucault’s biopolitics, we describe the ways in which leisure engagement with Facebook produces new forms of often hidden labour from users, thereby further contributing to the biopolitical control over many of our everyday experiences.”
Takeaway? Facebook is for chumps. You already knew that.
Key lines from abstract: “This paper looks at the holiday experiences of women with young children. It attempts to unfold the meaning of that experience, looking particularly at the contradiction of a work-filled event being accepted as a holiday experience…the overall scenario was one of little support for women to construct a holiday and an absence of dialogue regarding the right to holidays. As work and relationship are an integral part of the holiday experience, the findings question the relevance of the continued use of the work/leisure dichotomy in leisure theory.”
Takeaway? Call your mom.
Inked: historic African-American beach site as collective memory and group ‘Third Place’ sociability on Martha’s Vineyard
Key lines from abstract: “Using data gained from ethnographic research and interviews, this article examines ‘third place’ sociability in the social interactions of the Polar Bears of Martha’s Vineyard, a group of predominantly but not exclusively middle-aged and senior African-American men and women who swim, exercise and socialise together each morning at ‘the Inkwell’ beach…The importance of race, class and place is socio-historically investigated within the broader social context of the popular racialised section of the beach, ‘the Inkwell’, of African-American community life, and within the sub-community milieu of group social interaction.”
Takeaway? Badasses are badass.
Guiltless consumption of space as an individualistic pursuit: mapping out the leisure self at Starbucks in Taiwan
Key lines from abstract:“This study explicates how Starbucks consumers are not purchasing coffee but instead are consuming comfort, pleasure and a western middle-class image as well as space to pursue their activities – whether study, work or simply some time alone. By employing participant observation together with ethnographic interviews with 34 informants conducted on site in Starbucks, this five-year study explores the life narratives of these coffee enthusiasts, and illustrates how the leisure space is socially constructed through complex interpersonal, institutional and societal negotiations.”
Takeaway? Nobody goes to Starbucks for the coffee.
Key lines from abstract: “This paper explores Norwegian youngsters’ (and, to a lesser extent, adults’) engagement with conventional and lifestyle sports via an examination of recent trends. In the process, it explores the significance or otherwise of ‘nature-based settings’ and the developing character of lifestyle sports. In terms of changes in youth sport, young Norwegians are the quintessential sporting omnivores. However, the particular mix of conventional and lifestyle sports that Norwegian youngsters favour has shifted within a generation, with the latter more prominent in 2007 than they had been even a decade earlier. The changes appear emblematic of a shift among Norwegian youth towards sports activities that offer alternative forms and styles of participation to those traditionally associated with ‘the outdoors’ as a style of life.”
Takeaway? I once had a pun, or should I say, it once had me.