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Pastimes is an introductory text. It gathers together the state of the art in leisure science and practice, reflecting as well a wide range of literature from the disciplines of sociology, psychology, economics, political science, and anthropology. More than a text that teaches the foundational meanings and roles of leisure, however, Pastimes is also a point of view. This text presents leisure as a human phenomenon that is both individual and collective, vital to survival and frivolous, historical and contemporary, good and bad.
There are three main parts. Part one blends philosophy, religious studies, and the humanities in considering leisure as a condition of being human. Not only do chapters 1 through 4 establish the basic definitions and parameters for studying leisure, they ask readers to consider these concepts from their own personal framework. Part two is a focus on leisure's role in creating and reflecting society. Chapters 5 through 8 build on the personal relevancy of leisure discussed in part one and teach about leisure's contemporary cultural significance. These chapters rely on anthropology, sociology, and psychology concepts. Leisure's personal and cultural vitality are brought to a pragmatic conclusion in part three: leisure's use as a social instrument. Material from recreation and park studies is featured in Chapters 9 through 12.