The serious leisure perspective and the experience of leisure

Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
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Journal Article
Leisure Sciences: an interdisciplinary journal, 2017, 39 (3), pp. 205 - 223
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The serious leisure perspective (SLP), which divides leisure activities into three distinct forms, serious, casual and project-based, has been developed by Robert Stebbins over the last 40 years. This paper evaluates the perspective as theory and as a typology. The theory associated with the SLP, concerning social worlds, identification and optimal leisure lifestyles, is found to be generally untested because it has been largely developed in relation to the serious leisure form only. The validity of the typology is questioned on the grounds that ‘seriousness’ is a continuum, rather than discrete categories, and that most leisure activities can be engaged in with varying degrees of seriousness. It is proposed that the SLP be replaced by a more flexible, open research approach, the Leisure Experience Perspective, which consolidates features of the SLP and other research traditions and a number of other theoretical perspectives.
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