The Serious Leisure Perspective and the Experience of Leisure

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Leisure Sciences, 2017, 39 (3), pp. 205 - 223
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. 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 article 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 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 theoretical perspectives.
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