A critical examination of leisure in modernity: Rejecting instrumentalism and embracing flourishing

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Abstract

We provide a critical approach to current colloquial and scholarly understandings of leisure focusing on instrumental understandings of leisure in modern, liberal-democratic society since these instrumental understandings (e.g., diversion, distinction, consumerism, and restoration for work) create confusion about the meaning of leisure. We identify that (a) emphasis on instrumental thinking prevailing in modern society moves people away from embracing leisure as an end with its inherent experiences of meaning and flourishing, and (b) to bring these elements back into leisure, we draw on post-modern, neo-Aristotelian philosophical approaches. We reject the notion of leisure as time or activity and adopt a normative approach identifying leisure as an ethical state of being characterized by authenticity, meaning, and liquidity involving learning as it intertwines with positivity. We provide an account of leisure that builds upon the idea that the good life exists through flourishing, and identify how leisure experiences promote flourishing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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