Amateurs, Professionals, and Serious Leisure

Amateurs, Professionals, and Serious Leisure

ROBERT A. STEBBINS
Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt81ccj
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  • Book Info
    Amateurs, Professionals, and Serious Leisure
    Book Description:

    Throughout this project Stebbins has built on the work of Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss and their notion of "grounded theory." First, Stebbins extensively observed the routine activities of amateurs and professionals in each field studied. Then, as he became more familiar with the life-styles of the participants, he conducted lengthy, unstructured, face-to-face interviews with, in most cases, thirty amateur or professional respondents. Each field demanded special methods of observation, analysis, interviewing, probing, and reporting. As much as possible, however, Stebbins asked similar questions of all respondents in all fields so as to permit generalizations across these diverse fields. The result was a "substantive grounded theory" of each field studied.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6334-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    If I had to identify one day on which the fifteen-year project reported on in this book commenced, I would have to select a day in early January of 1974. For it was during that month that I began the library research that eventually led to a paper on amateur musicians for presentation at a conference the following spring. Having been involved in amateur music for most of my life (except for a two-year interlude as a professional), I was well aware that participants in that field considered amateurism to be something special. That January day marked my first academic...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Serious Leisure
    (pp. 1-19)

    In an age in which the quest for spectator and sensual diversions dominates the world of leisure, the phrase “serious leisure” has a rather curious ring. Historically, at least, such wording is oddly contradictory, for seriousness has commonly been associated only with work, whereas leisure has been seen as the happy, carefree refuge from our earnest pursuit of money and the social standing supposedly provided by a paying job. But this view now appears to be losing ground. Current values and behaviour patterns in work and leisure hint at the presence of a serious orientation toward leisure among a significant...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Professionals
    (pp. 20-37)

    Although this chapter is chiefly about professionals, I begin by comparing them with amateurs. Frequently, our everyday English usage of the term “amateur,” and related words, invokes direct or indirect reference to the term “professional,” and its related words. Indeed, this appears to be a central theme, which can provide a starting point for a sociological definition.Webster’s Dictionarydefines amateur in one sense as “one that engages in a particular pursuit, study, or science as a pastime rather than as a professional.” In the same dictionary “amateurism” is defined as “non-professional,” and “amateurish” as the lack of a professional...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Amateurs
    (pp. 38-58)

    Our macrosociological definition of the amateur and the conception of the PAP system point to a far more complicated set of relations between amateurs and professionals than common sense would have us believe. Conventional wisdom holds that amateurs are but one kind of leisure participant who, although perhaps a bit quaint because of their intensity, seem to function, like other leisure participants, independently of any work role. In reality, the relationship between the worlds of leisure and work for amateurs is quite different.

    Amateurs are related to professionals or publics, or both, in at least seven ways. First, amateurs can...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Publics
    (pp. 59-67)

    In the sociology of occupations, we customarily think of people being served by professionals as “clients,” as people interacting in personal service relationships with highly specialized practitioners. As noted in chapter 2, this conception does not dovetail with the sets of consumers who gather around the professionals in the arts, science, sport, and entertainment fields. In these areas, the dyadic link implied in the notion of client is comparatively rare. For instance, although painters and composers are occasionally commissioned by an individual or an organization to create a work, and scientists may consult or do contract work, this practice is...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Careers
    (pp. 68-92)

    As indicated in chapter 1, the notion of a career is itself an important concept in the study of serious leisure; it goes without saying that the concept is equally important in the study of professional work. Indeed, in art, science, sport, and entertainment, the idea of a career acts as a major bridge between amateur and professional activity. It has, moreover, the capacity to link individual amateurs or professionals (or other workers) with the culture and social structure within which the work and leisure activities are pursued. For example, some careers take their incumbent through a series of organizational...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Costs and Rewards
    (pp. 93-107)

    The etymological root of the word “amateur” is the Latinamator, or one who loves. In our case, it is one who loves one’s avocation. Common sense has it that that love is the singular, indeed fundamental, motive for pursuing any amateur activity. How convenient it would be if amateurism were so easily explained. Unfortunately, however, it is not. What is worse, the common sense explanation, while true as far as it goes, neglects two incontrovertible facts. First, although it is possible that amateurs are more attracted to their pursuits than their professional colleagues, perhaps because they participate in them...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN In the Community
    (pp. 108-122)

    Serious leisure and allied professional activities are greatly influenced by the social milieux in which they unfold. The results of the exploration of the marginality of amateur activities, undertaken in chapter 3, support this observation. Marginalization is a broad social process, wherein a group or an activity is set apart from related groups or activities, inside some larger social organization, such as an association or a community. The family is one sphere in which serious leisure is often marginalized.

    The term “family” was used throughout the Project as an umbrella for all steady, adult relationships with a member of the...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Serious Leisure in the Twenty-first Century
    (pp. 123-133)

    In a partial review of American research into the sociology of leisure, Wilson (1980,22-4) poses two crucial, interrelated, but as yet unanswered questions: Do people want more free, non-working time? And, is the amount of leisure time increasing? Let us turn to the first question.

    The desire for more free time is a complicated issue. In the abstract, people want it, but their desire hinges upon certain conditions. For example, there must be no drop in income and fringe benefits. Mind you, if the economy is sound, living on even a modest reduction of wages as a trade-off for more...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 134-136)

    With this discussion of serious leisure in the twenty-first century, I have come to the end of my fifteen-year Project and related studies, together with my development of a formal grounded theory. Of course, much research remains to be done, the Project having raised many more questions than it answered. But that is the nature of scientific exploration. It helps to chart new intellectual territory, so that others may better examine it. It also gives fellow travellers an idea of where to go and, once there, what data collection tools to use.

    Studies now beckon on all fronts. For example,...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 137-142)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 143-162)
  16. Author Index
    (pp. 163-166)
  17. Subject Index
    (pp. 167-171)