The leisure society I: myths and misconceptions, 1960-1979

World Leisure Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
World Leisure Journal, 2011, 53 (3), pp. 206 - 227
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Recent discussion in the World Leisure Journal has raised the issue of the place of the "leisure society thesis" in the development of leisure studies. Some have argued that the thesis was a key, but misconceived, "project" of the early phase of leisure studies which has done lasting damage to the leisure studies brand. Others argue that the thesis was a passing preoccupation which has long since been superseded and is no longer of relevance. In this paper, it is noted that recollections of the leisure studies thesis in its heyday of the 1960s and 1970s are often unspecific and at times ill-informed. The paper is not a defence or critique of the leisure society thesis but an attempt to establish a more accurate history through discussion of fivemyths: I. that portrayals of the leisure society in the 1960s and 1970s invariably involved visions of the future; 2. that there was a consensus within the leisure studies community concerning a future leisure society; 3. that the thesis was a significant feature of the early leisure studies literature; 4. that definitions of the leisure society were based on predictions of falling working hours; and 5. that leisure society proponents themselves predicted reductions in working hours.
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