Leisure Policy

The example of sport

Authored by: Matthew Nicholson , Bob Stewart

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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Leisure, including one of its core sub-sets, sport, is a fundamental part of the day-to-day experiences of people living in any society. In modern societies, time, money and space are allocated to an array of activities that range from reading online newspapers, shopping for fashion-wear or visiting art galleries, to doing aerobics, playing netball or attending professional football games. While these examples are disparate, they all share the family resemblance of being activities that are done in non-paid-work time settings and spaces, and that we, for the most part, choose to do. In contemporary societies with high levels of commodification, the drive to ever more intensive consumption means that these experiences occupy more time, are more intense, are more self-consciously undertaken and, arguably, mean more to us than ever before. Leisure has become something far more important than a respite from the daily chores of life or a way of letting off emotional steam. As Stebbins (2007) noted, leisure can often be deadly ‘serious’. As such, the traditional role of leisure policy, which sees governments regulating leisure and using it in direct and indirect ways to encourage societal health and well-being, has shifted as leisure has been commodified and has become more about personal meaning – most particularly in the ways in which it is provided, marketed, consumed and measured.

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