chapter  6
Leisure in Totalitarian Regimes
WithJohn Wilson
Pages -120

The leisure activities of people in the Soviet Union are much less expensive, much less consumer-oriented and much more communal in character than the leisure activities of people in the West. Leisure in totalitarian regimes is unusual in the extent to which this aspect of life, like all others, is believed to be essentially political. Work and play, leisure and labor, are treated as a unity properly administered by the state. Efforts to link the democratization of leisure to a socialist political program can be traced back at least until the 1890s with the rise of the workers’ sport movement in Germany. Making the right kind of leisure opportunities available to each person is justified in terms of developing the well-rounded individual and helping them contribute to the political program of the regime rather than being justified in terms of maximizing the individual’s freedom of choice.