Leisure, People and Social Systems: A Background Paper

“There is not, and probably cannot be, any general sociological theory of leisure. Leisure can only be described in relationship to its social and cultural context. Even within Australia, it is a little difficult to see how we can apply the same concepts to the leisure of the average suburban resident on one hand and to the prisoner or long-term hospital patient on the other. Both of the latter are forced to exist in a life style which can probably best be described as “enforced” leisure, and that tends to be contradictory. Many people would see the term leisure as essentially denoting absolute freedom of choice. However, as we shall explain below the concept of absolute freedom of choice is a little too simplistic.”

“Those who take part in organized activities can and do form vociferous pressure groups and tend to have a major influence upon public expenditure. On the other hand, the individual who wishes to lie in the shade has no pressure group working on his behalf. More importantly, the
ordinary suburban family who merely wants a quiet spot for a pleasant country picnic also lacks a pressure group to campaign for their needs to be met. The extent to which they are provided for is much more dependent upon the vision of those responsible for the care of natural resources than upon any pressure group or other recreation-oriented authority.”

These are just two of the interesting discussion topics raised in the first section of this 130-page report. The Table of Contents reads:

1. What is leisure?
2. What factors determine our leisure?
3. Professionals and citizens.
4. How about the individual?



Geographic Coverage



File is 62 MB, to come.


Copyright pending from successor to Australian Frontier


Ross Baxter and Elery Hamilton-Smith


Consultation Planning Survey Services