chapter  1
Politics and Leisure
WithJohn Wilson

This chapter introduces the major concepts and ideas to be used and explains how they will be used. ‘Politics’ and ‘leisure’ are words with deceptively obvious meanings. Leisure is ‘political’ to the extent that ‘the personal is political,’ to the degree that the everyday lives of men and women, extending to control over their ‘persons,’ are shaped by relations of domination and submission. At the heart of the political regulation of leisure has been ‘public control over the ways that collectivities and individuals seek to obtain gratification’. As leisure becomes one of several social services provided by the welfare state it takes on the character of all such services, combining an element of social control with that of provision. In most Western capitalist societies, leisure is administered largely through voluntary associations at the local, national and international level. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.