leisure + class + identity
Parker suggested that social class influences the type of leisure activities we choose. Those in traditional working-class occupations such as manual work choose leisure activities that provide an escape from work such as drinking in the pub. Middle-class professionals, who work in jobs with high levels of intrinsic satisfaction, are willing to allow activities associated with work to be part of their leisure time, for example having dinner or playing golf with business associates.
From a postmodernist perspective, the boundaries between social class and leisure have become blurred. This is because, regardless of our social class, we can all pick and choose how we spend our leisure time.
Postmodernists have an optimistic view about everyone having the ability to express their identity through their activity as consumers. However, it is important to recognise that while most people can afford a range of leisure activities such as holiday, income does limit our choices in leisure and consumption. We can all visit the same shops, but some can afford more choices then others; some leisure activities are not accessible to all.
leisure + youth culture + identity
It has been argued that in the last 50 years, the fashion and entertainment industries have been dominated by a 'cult of youth' in which youth and the lifestyle and tastes of young people are celebrated. This is linked to the increasing amount of disposable income held by young people.
The mass media are important in the development of youth subcultures as new trends are rapidly communicated to young people. There have been many different youth subcultures since the 1950's; many of these reflect the social class, gender and ethnicity of their members. Today, young people can pick and mix the fashion and music from all the youth combinations that have existed and create new ones.
Electronic games consoles and the internet are popular leisure pursuits of young people and can be interpreted as a new type of 'virtual youth' subculture. New technology allows young people to play games on the internet with others around the world, and they can talk to them as they are playing. Using chat-rooms accounts for an increasing amount of their leisure time.
leisure + gender + identity
There are gender differences in leisure activities. Men are more likely to go to the pub than women and are more likely to watch sporting events. Also, the ongoing responsibilities of women mean that they are less able to put time aside for leisure. Feminists suggest that gender role socialisation has an impact on women's expectations of leisure and that the lack of affordable childcare stops women from accessing the leisure activities of their choice. They also argue that the leisure opportunities that women have are restricted by men who expect women to choose home-based activities in their leisure time rather then going out. Research also shows that women have less disposable income than men. Women tend to combine their leisure time with other obligations such as looking after the children, and are also likely to become involved in leisure activities for the sake of their husbands.
Women are further more restricted from pursuing certain leisure activities because men still dominate many sporting and social venues and women may feel uncomfortable on their own in these settings.
There are differences between the leisure activities depending on the age, social class and marital status of women. Middle-class women are more likely to belong to gyms and go to keep-fit classes. Single women are more likely to go out to pubs and nightclubs.
leisure + ethnicity + gender + identity
The influence of the blues, reggae, hip hip and bangra show how significant the music of different ethnic groups has been on contemporary popular music. These expressive forms emerged from the experience of minority ethnic groups.
There are many examples of successful black sports stars, musicians and actors in the media and these may influence the identity and leisure of minority ethnic groups. However in some sports such as swimming, golf and tennis, ethnic minorities are still under-represented.
Postmodernists claim that in contemporary culture a hybridity of cultural forms has emerged that celebrates diversity and is used by people of all social backgrounds as a shared symbol and source of identity. Ethnicity, according to postmodernists, will become less and less significant in terms of inequality as everyone gains access to the same symbolic universe.
leisure + globalisation
Although nation states in different parts of the world are at different stages of development, most countries are now industrialised to some extent and global processes associated with capitalism such as mass production and mass consumption are organised across national boundaries. Mass communications technology has been central to the process of globalisation. Electronic banking and instant communication has made it easier for transnational corporations to conduct their business.
The leisure industry is made up of organisations that provide entertainment, tourism and leisure products. Through our lifestyle choices we use the products and services of the leisure industry to express our identity. New technology has led to many changes in the leisure industry - for example, travel has become much easier and cheaper as new transport technology has developed. It is now possible for many of us to travel around the world due to low cost of transport. This means we can see for ourselves how people live in different countries. However, we can also see how people live around the world through the mass media and these images can motivate us to use the services of the travel industries.
leisure + globalisation continued.
The tourism industry is a large sector of the leisure industry. John Urry has analysed the way that tourism has changed in recent years. A key motivation for tourists is to look at things they would not normally see. Urry calls this the tourist 'gaze'. We often visit countries and cities that we have seen in the media and take our own images home with us in the form of photographs or videos. Urry identifies two types of gaze: the collective gaze and the romantic gaze.
Collective gaze: this is when other people are needed to give the 'atmosphere' to a place that we visit; for example, a club in Ibiza needs to be busy so that we can enjoy the experience more.
Romantic gaze: this is when we want to be alone to see the place we are visiting; for example, to contemplate the beauty of a mountain.
leisure + globalisation continued
Urry claims that tourism can be seen to illustrate some of the themes of modern and postmodern culture. In modern tourism built-up tourist resorts would appeal. The emphasis is on the collective gaze - many other tourists would help to create a holiday atmosphere. Thus built-up tourist resorts like Benidorm would appeal with mass-produced entertainment consumed by all. The postmodern tourist would shun this type of tourism - they would base their choice of holiday on trying to achieve the romantic gaze.
This research illustrates some key postmodern ideas in terms of the leisure industry and how it might shape identity. Most people can afford an annual holiday and the reasons for choosing different holiday experiences is not determined by social class, gender or ethnicity. We can all choose from the vast array of holiday options avaliable to us and through this choice we can make symbolic statements about who we are and what is important to us.