In “Motivational Foundations of Leisure” by Seppo E. Iso-Ahola and “Pathways to Meaning-Making Through Leisure-Like Pursuits in Global Contexts” by Yoshitaka Iwasaki, both authors try to distinguish leisure from other aspects of human life. To do this, they try to describe the basic characteristics that identify something as leisure versus something that is not. However, the big problem for both is the elusive definition of “what is leisure”, since it is difficult to describe its characteristics if it is difficult to distinguish leisure from what is not leisure. This problem is made even more difficult in modern society, where there is a kind of continuum between leisure and non-leisure, with many activities appearing to be a mixture of the two.
For example, a part-time entrepreneur who creates a party planning business is engaging in an economic activity, but it is also fun for her (the entrepreneur is usually a woman) and she might consider organizing sales parties as a secondary company. to something she considers work. So maybe this business starts out as a hobby, but as she earns more and more money, she can spend more and more time putting parts together to build a serious business. Therefore, at some point, the celebration of these fun parties may stop being a leisure activity, but it can be difficult to know exactly when it will happen.
Iso-Ahola and Iwasaki face this same problem of distinguishing leisure and non-leisure when trying to discuss the characteristics of leisure, in the sense that many of these characteristics that they use to describe leisure may be true for non-leisure activities. leisure, commonly considered as work. Iwasaki tries to get around this problem by calling the things he characterizes as aspects of leisure as “leisure-like” activities, and in the same way one might characterize what people normally call work as “work-like” activities, but this is really more of a semantic sleight of hand. Calling something “leisure-like” (or “work-like” for that matter) simply provides a more confusing nomenclature for identifying a part of human life that is difficult to define. In other words, using a fuzzy term to define what is considered an elusive and hard-to-define quality simply points to the fuzziness, but does not help to clarify the basic characteristics of what leisure is compared to other aspects of human life.
For example, in the “Motivational Foundations of Leisure”, Iso-Ahola seeks to find an explanation of what leisure is in the “basic innate (psychological) needs that are the main energizers of human growth and potential”. From her perspective, this need that everyone is born with defines what people consider leisure and directs them to engage in various conditions to satisfy those needs. Given this compelling need for leisure, Iso-Ahola suggests that having a sense of freedom or autonomy is “the central defining characteristic of leisure.” However, he distinguishes this feeling of freedom from the everyday characterization of leisure as “free time”, which people use to describe the time when they are not working, since only part of this free time can really be free from any obligation. so someone can do exactly what they want to do.
For example, if someone performs tasks during this period of free time, this time would not be truly free, although Iso-Ahola suggests that the more a person thinks of their work as an obligation, the freer they will feel when they are engaged. in non-work activities, and therefore that activity could truly be considered leisure.
So from this perspective, if a person genuinely enjoys their job and engages in a variety of activities that contribute to success at work, even though these activities might be considered leisure for someone who engages in these activities for reasons that have nothing to do with do with your work, these activities may no longer be considered leisure. An example of this is the salesperson or CEO of a company playing golf with other potential customers. On the one hand, golf is normally considered a recreational leisure activity. But it has become part of the salesperson’s or CEO’s job, even though the salesperson or CEO is free to choose whether or not to play golf, or engage in an alternative form of entertainment with prospective customers, such as taking them to a show or a club. ball game. If that person plays golf, he goes to a show, or is watching a ball game with members of her family and no co-workers are present, that might be more correctly characterized as leisure. But in many cases, the salesperson/CEO may take the family on a golf outing, show, or ball game with their co-workers, thus blurring the conception of leisure. In the circumstances, using a continuum from non-leisure activities to leisure activities might be a good way to characterize different types of leisure, rather than trying to distinguish between what is leisure and what is not.
In any case, building on this notion that freedom is a basic characteristic of leisure, Iso-Ahola suggests that leisure activity is characterized by self-determined behavior, or that it may start out as determined but may become self-determined through the process of self-determination. “internalization” Thus, to the extent that people do everyday activities because they want to, they do them for leisure. An example might be if I hate gardening (which I really do), but start doing it because I can’t afford to hire a gardener, and eventually I start to find joy in it, which would make it a leisure activity. (But since I can hire a gardener, I don’t have any compelling reason to, so for now it’s definitely not a leisure activity for me.)
Then, too, according to Iso-Ahola, leisure could be characterized by evasion, which can contribute to internalizing an activity, which makes it even more of a form of leisure.
Iso-Ahola brings all these ideas together in a pyramid where the greater one’s intrinsic motivation and sense of self-determination, the more one engages in true leisure outside of the work context. In the background is the compulsory participation in non-work activities, such as the tasks that one has to perform at home. At the next level above this, he distinguishes participation in leisure activities on television and exercise, which he feels are generally not true leisure, as people are not truly autonomous in engaging in either activity. . He states that people lack the autonomy to watch television, because they don’t really want to do this and it doesn’t make them feel good about themselves (although this opinion about television is questionable), and in the case of exercise, he states that they feel they should do this because it’s good for them, rather than because they want to. Finally, at the top of the pyramid is full participation in leisure, where one feels complete autonomy and freedom, thereby gaining intrinsic rewards, a sense of flow, and social interaction with others.
Finally, to briefly quote Iwasaki’s approach to characterizing leisure, he seeks to describe leisure as a way of generating certain kinds of meanings, although the particular meanings may differ for people experiencing different life experiences or coming from different cultures. In Iwasaki’s view, citing the World Leisure Association’s description of leisure, meaningful leisure provides “opportunities for self-actualization and further contribution to the quality of life of the community.” As such, leisure includes self-determined behavior, displaying competence, engaging in social relationships, having the opportunity for self-reflection and self-affirmation, developing one’s identity, and overcoming negative experiences in life. Iwasaki also goes on to describe the five key factors that are aspects of leisure (which he prefers to call “leisure-like” activities): 1) positive emotions and well-being, 2) positive identities, self-esteem, and spirituality; 3) social and cultural connections and harmony, 4) human strengths and resilience, and 5) lifelong learning and human development.