Family Leisure

Authored by: Maureen Harrington

Routledge Handbook of Leisure Studies

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415697170
eBook ISBN: 9780203140505
Adobe ISBN: 9781136495595


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Family leisure is a rather nebulous area of leisure research, primarily because the majority of researchers conceive of leisure as an individual phenomenon (Dawson, 2000). From its inception, Leisure Studies has relied extensively on social surveys that aggregate data on individuals, which precludes the family being analysed as a social unit (Kelly, 1997). The unit of analysis is the individual, most obviously in psychological and social-psychological approaches to leisure. The same focus in the individual actor in social settings was present in the early sociological literature, in studies like those of male occupational communities and men’s work–leisure relationship (Parker, 1971; Salaman, 1974). This chapter will argue that, in spite of renewed interest in the area and attempts to reconceptualize family leisure as a form of purposive leisure (Shaw and Dawson, 2001), a coherent meaning of ‘family leisure’ still remains elusive in Leisure Studies.

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