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The Discipline of Leisure

The Discipline of Leisure: Embodying Cultures of 'Recreation'

Simon Coleman
Tamara Kohn
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 210
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  • Book Info
    The Discipline of Leisure
    Book Description:

    The burgeoning social scientific study of tourism has emphasized the effects of the post-industrial economy on travel and place. However, this volume takes some of these issues into a different area of leisure: the spare-time carved out by people as part of their everyday lives - time that is much more intimately juxtaposed with the pressures and influences of work life, and which often involves specific bodily practices associated with hobbies and sports. An important focus of the book is the body as a site of identity formation, experience, and disciplined recreation of the self. Contributors examine the ways rituals, sports, and forms of bodily transformation mediate between contemporary ideologies of freedom, choice and self-control.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-039-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. 1 The Discipline of Leisure: Taking Play Seriously
    (pp. 1-20)
    Simon Coleman and Tamara Kohn

    A few years ago, one of us came upon on a small article in the Sunday magazine of a British newspaper.¹ The title of the piece was ‘Go See a Night of Leisure’ and it referred to a forthcoming debate at the Victoria and Albert Museum on what makes British people relax. The debate was to be presented by Tom Hodgkinson, editor of a journal splendidly calledThe Idler, and what really caught the attention was a distinction Hodgkinson wanted to make between two ways of having a good time:pleasure, he claimed, involved drugs and drink (and,we might assume,...


    • 2 Bob, Hospital Bodybuilder: The Integrity of the Body, the Transitiveness of ‘Work’ and ‘Leisure’
      (pp. 23-38)
      Nigel Rapport

      Bob carries himself distinctively as he bestrides the corridors, offices and wards of Constance Hospital. His porter’s uniform of blue fabric trousers and yellow poloshirt (with name tag on the left breast) are tightly stretched across a bodybuilder’s frame, in particular chest and neck. Bob has well-developedtrapeziusandlatissimus dorsimuscles, as well as pectorals anddeltoids. And he holds them with a certain tightness and expansiveness through the day. With his blonde hair in crew-cut style, his glasses magnifying a slight squint in his eye, and a slight stoop in his posture, Bob – ‘B. HUME, SUPPORT SERVICES’ – is...

    • 3 Of Metaphors and Muscles: Protestant ‘Play’ in the Disciplining of the Self
      (pp. 39-54)
      Simon Coleman

      My first encounter with a muscular Christian took place when I was still finishing my undergraduate degree. I had just decided that my doctoral work would focus on conservative Protestantism when I heard that Jim, a fellow student of anthropology, had recently ‘converted’. I confess I was somewhat sceptical as I went up the steps to Jim’s room in college to see for myself. I was used to thinking of him as a friendly, if physically-imposing, presence, more renowned for his prowess on the rugby field – and in the bar – than for his academic abilities.

      I found Jim squeezed, as...


    • 4 An Adventure Tourist Experience
      (pp. 57-72)
      Maurice J. Kane and Hazel Tucker

      I thought it went like a dream. I carved diagonally left to right across the top of the drop, railed on the lip and span into the flat water of the right hand eddy. Dreams, however, are rarely identical to reality. I had put more body power than style into the move, fought the water, it redirected my efforts shooting me back into the drop. I tried to turn, went nose vertical in the drop before cart-wheeling down stream. I was now tail vertical in the main flow, with fifteen meters till the hardest series of drops in this section....

    • 5 Reframing Place, Time and Experience: Leisure and Illusion in Mallorca
      (pp. 73-88)
      Jacqueline Waldren

      ‘Reike, massage, water therapy, yoga and relaxation techniques – see Maire and Heikle’. This is the sign on the side of a car parked along the dirt road to Cala Deia, Mallorca described as one of the most beautiful coves in the Mediterranean. Deia, a village on the northwest coast of Mallorca, has attracted exotic visitors since the last century (see Rusinol 1929). On arrival, it is not long before most visitors become aware of the fifteen hundred foot mountains that form the valley of Deia. Walking down to the cove through the valley is often described by new and repeat...


    • 6 Animal and Human Bodies in the Landscapes of English Foxhunting
      (pp. 91-108)
      Garry Marvin

      A rich anthropological literature examines the processes and associated practices of hunting animals for food but little attention has been paid to the hunting of wild animals in the modern world, when the activity moves from being part of a subsistence strategy to becoming a sporting practice.¹ In this movement hunting becomes set apart from utilitarian concerns and enters that space and time occupied by play, games, sports and other leisure activities. It becomes subject to rules and regulations that mark it as a non-necessary and essentially nonproductive activity,² engaged in primarily for the inherent pleasures of the event itself....

    • 7 Playing Like Canadians: Improvising Nation and Identity through Sport
      (pp. 109-126)
      Noel Dyck

      Whether actively pursued or incidentally encountered, engagement with sport constitutes a salient feature of everyday life for a sizable proportion of children, youth and adults in cities and communities across Canada. This chapter examines how varying forms of involvement with sport may be marshalled to shape domestic representations of Canada as a nation as well as to mediate the paired and often problematic identities of ‘Canadians’ and ‘immigrants’. Although Western social science has traditionally relegated sport to a supposedly frivolous category of mere ‘fun and games’, such a perspective is badly dated and conceptually callow. Within Canada, as in many...

    • 8 A Relaxed State of Affairs?: On Leisure, Tourism, and Cuban Identity
      (pp. 127-146)
      Thomas F. Carter

      The crowd exploded in a thunderous cry of anger and disbelief. Another close call had gone against the home team. One man leapt onto the backstop separating the field from the seats behind home plate. Stadium officials plucked at the back of his shirt in an attempt to pull him down as he vainly tried to jam his hand through the gaps in the wire mesh to get his hand closer to the umpire. Several irate fans clambered onto the roof of the dugout sheltering the home team’s players. Conga drums continued beating out a rumba-like rhythm and a couple...


    • 9 Staged Discipline as Leisure: Notes on Colonial Sociability in Cairo
      (pp. 149-170)
      Petra Kuppinger

      On 1 January 1900 the Consul General and Minister Plenipotentiary of Germany in Cairo, Herr von Muller, lavishly entertained thirty hand-picked members of the German community at a dinner party in Cairo’s famous Shepheard’s Hotel. Thirty covers were laid out on a table with ‘exquisite taste’ in a ‘magnificent’ hall that had recently been added to the hotel.² A menu of thirteen items had been arranged and printed copies (in German) were handed to the guests. After the party, the consensus among the guests was that ‘the chef had even surpassed his previous worthy efforts on occasions of this nature...

    • 10 Bowing onto the Mat: Discourses of Change through Martial Arts Practice
      (pp. 171-186)
      Tamara Kohn

      I currently practice and teach a Japanese martial art called aikido. I also practise and teach anthropology. These practices are often inseparable. For a start, when I sit at my office desk or stand in front of a class full of students, the frequent aching in my body, as well as momentary reflections I have on aikido practice and body movement, permeates my work, informs my thought, and refigures my identity. It does this both in terms of the social world I engage in as well as in a sense of personal growth that I feel and inwardly discuss with...

  8. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 187-188)
  9. Index
    (pp. 189-202)