Identifying Serious Leisure Activities

Yazdan Mansourian defines serious leisure as hobbies, amateurism, and voluntary activities. To better understand it, people need to look at the bigger context because there are different types of leisure; what differentiates serious leisure from the rest is that it is a higher level of leisure where people have serious pursuits.

Serious leisure is a higher level of leisure.

Nick: Let’s touch on your paper, and the title of the paper, again, is “Information sharing in serious leisure as a source of Ibasho and Tanoshimi: A narrative from bonsai growers in Australia.” So we're connecting a few countries here. 

I think we should start by defining serious leisure. So what is serious leisure?

Yazdan: Right, so serious leisure, it's a term coined by Dr Robert Stebbins in 1982. It includes hobbies, amateurism and voluntary activities with six criteria: perseverance and commitment, potentiality to turn into a career, significant personal effort, durable personal and social benefits, unique ethos within a social world and personal and social identity. 

However, to understand serious leisure, we need to look at it in a bigger picture. And by bigger picture, here, I mean, we have different kinds of leisure, and based on the level of engagement and commitment, with the leisure activities, then we can identify different kinds of leisure. 

For example, on one side of this spectrum, we have casual leisure, and casual leisure, like play, relaxation, or passive entertainment, and you don't need any specific skills or knowledge or commitment, or dedication, like reading a novel, watching TV, walking in a park – they are all casual leisure, for pure pleasure. 

And, of course, nothing’s wrong with that. It is very essential for our well-being. We all need to relax, we all need to rest. And it's a very important part of our daily life. But it's casual leisure. But it can get a little bit more serious, we call it project-based leisure. 

The best example for that is do-it-yourself projects. For example, you go to Bunnings and you buy a dog kennel and you bring it home or you need to set it up something we have done forever. 

And then we’re travelling or attending cultural events or arranging a birthday party. So for example, today is the birthday of my son, we had a birthday party last night. So it's just a project-based leisure which is occasional or it might be just only once in lifetime. 

So it needs a little bit of skill but minimal level of skill. So for example, a do-it-yourself project is based on the minimal level of skills and almost everyone can do that. It's not that difficult. 

However, in the higher level of leisure, which is called serious pursuits, we have serious leisure and devotee work. And serious leisure is what I am focusing on in my research. And as I said earlier, it includes hobbies, volunteer activities, and amateurism.