The two rival concepts of devotional leisure: Towards an understanding of Twenty-First Century human creativity and the possibility of freedom

BLACKSHAW, Tony (2017). The two rival concepts of devotional leisure: Towards an understanding of Twenty-First Century human creativity and the possibility of freedom. International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure, 1 (1), 75-97.

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The starting point of this article is that the ultimate objective of sociology so far as the study of leisure is concerned should be with understanding the ways in which twenty-first century modern men and women attempt to reconcile the demands of individuality and community (aka freedom and security) by focusing on what they choose to do when they can do anything at all. The first introductory part sets up the rest of the article by offering a brief critique of the sociology of leisure which operates with the somewhat startling assertion that in modern societies leisure is largely consumerist in orientation and that as a result freedom is a fiction. Counteracting this assertion with a startling one of its own it is subsequently argued that the twentieth century interregnum saw modernity radically revise its modernity which led to a transformation in the power of human agency and emergence of the insistent voice ‘I too am in individual’. Taking as its starting point Peter Sloterdijk’s reading of Nietzsche’s imperative to ‘Become who you are’ articulated passionately in his book You must change your life (2013), the second part of the article argues that in the twenty-first century terms like authentic leisure and consumerist leisure, work and leisure are not antithetical to one another, and there is a radical need to rethink how people give meaning and order to their lives though their leisure pursuits. Here the article explores the relationship between Sloterdijk’s concept of anthropotechnics, the art of living and leisure. The next part of the article fleshes out the theory of devotional leisure which is one part of a more embracing project set out in the book Re-imagining leisure studies (Blackshaw 2017). Here the article explores two contrasting ways of understanding devotional leisure practice, namely ‘devotional leisure’ and ‘performative leisure’ by drawing respectively on the examples of surfing and car cruising. The article concludes with an attempt to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory forms of devotional leisure practice with a discussion of urban exploration, speculating that their uniqueness to one another is never absolute, and the more you perceive their particularity, the more you understand their double nature, as simultaneously aspects of a third endeavour.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sport Industry Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 75-97
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 10:16
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 14:47

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