Leisure:

A Sociological Study

Definition:

From a sociological point of view, leisure is how humans spend their free time. Often, sociologists study how culture impacts leisure.

Take It Easy

The song Take it Easy by the Eagles, is a representation of how leisure can help a person cope with their every day life.
One of the lyrics, "Lighten up while you still can/ don't even try to understand/ Just find a place to make your stand/and take it easy" shows that life demands time to be enjoyed, this time is often what we refer to as leisure.
Take It Easy Lyrics

Types of Leisure

Gender's Impact on Leisure

Perhaps one of the biggest factors of how one spends their free time is gender. Boys, for example, are normally more prone to selecting more physical activities like sports or fitness as well as video games. These activities prove true for most high school-aged adolescents boys. Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to choose activities like shopping, reading, or cooking to fill their time. This factor plays a major part in the way companies brand their products or market themselves to consumers, as well as forms what society deems as acceptable gender past-times.

Other Sociological Factors Impacting Leisure:

  • Income-How much an individual makes often dictates how they spend their free time. For example, the hobbies of a person making $100,000 a year would be drastically different than a person who makes $50,000 per year.
  • Family situation-A person's marital status can affect the leisure activity, as well as the type of leisure they may partake in. A single woman, for example, may have more time to shop for pleasure than a married woman who would shop for efficiency
  • Background (way of being raised)-Mostly dealt with in children, the way a person has been raised influences how they spend their free time. A child who has been encouraged to be creative may spend more time imagining and creating things, while a child who has been taught to spend time outside may enjoy outdoor activities like sports or hiking
  • Age- As we get older, our interests may change. For example, a teenager might enjoy playing video games in their free time. As time progresses, however, and we get older, we may find more pleasure in reading than staring at a computer screen
  • Occupation-Leisure is very dependent on occupation. If a person is working 40+ hours a week, the amount of time and type of leisure will look very different from a person who works less time.

Common Forms of Leisure

The Lost Art of Leisure

Technology has become a major influence in dictating types of leisure of the culture. For example, people are spending more time plugged into TV's, computers, tablets, phones, and the like than they do engaging in social contact with people. According to the graph (pictured above) more than 50% of common leisure time is spent in front of a screen. Due to our ever-advancing technology age, people have forsaken the traditional forms of leisure like books, games, cooking, and fitness, for activities that favor a sedentary lifestyle, or one that favors non-physical activity.

Bibliography

  • Critcher, C., Peter Bramham, and Alan Tomlinson. "Part Two: Leisure and Common Experiences." Sociology of Leisure: A Reader. London: E & F.N. Spon, 1995. 7-10. Print.


  • Rapoport, Rhona, and Robert N. Rapoport. "The Sociology of Leisure." The British Journal of Sociology 25.2 (1974): 215-30. JSTOR. ITHAKA. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.


  • "Sociology of Leisure." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.


  • "For Working Moms, Key To Balance May Lie In Elusive Leisure Time." NPR. NPR, 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.