Modern American culture seems to have the need for discrepancy between leisure and work more than any other culture in the world. We really forget the possibility that other meanings besides our own might exist. I would like to explore the different meanings that leisure has for people of other cultural backgrounds and compare them with those of European descent. It is important to keep in mind that there is no way of regarding any culture in which the results can be taken as truth about the culture in its entirety. Values and ideals vary from person to person and from community to community. There are, however, commonalties found spread throughout the body of a culture and these can be very meaningful.
The western concept of leisure in most cases contains some notion of the need to get away from pressures, to have time for one's self, in order to do exactly what one would be doing were they not required to work. This is one concept which has not been found in some other cultures. In fact it was quite an offensive idea to the Indo-Canadian women interviewed for the Journal of Leisure research. These women had arrived in Canada in 1903 and made themselves homes here despite difficulty posed by extreme discrimination against Asian immigrants at the time. There were ten women interviewed for this study. Although it provides a strictly female view this research provides valuable insight into the cultural perception of leisure in India. Before conducting their interviews, researchers Susan C. Tirone and Susan M. Shaw sought advice from a professor from the Indo-Canadian community, familiar with qualitative research methods. She explained that using terms like leisure, hobbies and recreation would pr...
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...ople tend to be so perplexed about wasting time and about making the most of the time when they don't have to work that they drive themselves to exhaustion in an attempt to make "good use" of their leisure time. This is because of the extent to which we differentiate between the two. The majority of us are completely absorbed in the system of consumerism; We work in order to have money, we have money in order to buy things to amuse ourselves with. We now see leisure as if it were something we must get as much as possible of in the time allotted, and we gain little or no rejuvenation and replenishment from it as a result. There is evidence everywhere of the possibility of a world in which the line between work and leisure is much much thinner and it is becoming a very critical issue and we have a lot to gain by considering the views of other cultures in this matter.
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